Plans call for the museum's glass wall to be pushed out six feet, creating more space for galleries inside, which also will be renovated.


The Biggs Museum of American Art in Dover is preparing for a facelift and renovation that will give the institution more space to display its collections and host events.

Staff from the museum brought their plans before a meeting of the city’s Historic District Commission Nov. 18, which approved some slight changes to the glass walls of the building, located on the west end of Legislative Mall.

Plans call for the glass panels to be pushed out about 6 feet, creating more space for galleries inside. Then, the building’s three gallery floors will all be expanded and thoroughly renovated.

Wilmington architect Eldon Homsey said someone driving past the museum probably won’t notice the difference, since the new façade is designed to look almost exactly like what is there currently.

No exterior work is scheduled to the done on the historic County Building that forms the Biggs’ south wing.

However, the inside of the building is going to be very different when the renovations are complete.

In addition to gaining some 3,500 square feet of floor space, 50% more than the museum has now, all the galleries will be modernized.

“We’re taking out the 20-year-old dusty carpet. We’ll be about to use more natural light,” said curator Ryan Grover.

To save energy, the Biggs plans to install high-efficiency LED lighting throughout the galleries.

“The lighting will be very low voltage, very long life LED, with complete flexibility to the curator,” Homsey said.

Grover said he’s excited about the renovation, and the energy efficient aspects of the project.

“We’re trying to be as green as possible,” he said.

Interior renovation project work is scheduled to begin in January, and the modifications to the exterior glass wall will take place in the spring. The entire project is slated for completion in late 2013.

Grover said the total cost of the project is around $1.7 million, all of which will be covered by private donations. So far, the Biggs has about $900,000 for the renovations, he said.