As I write this letter in July 2023, the Yale Center for British Art is enveloped in scaffolding and fencing, making it clear to passersby that the latest phase of our building conservation plan is underway. We closed the museum to the public in late February so that we could replace the roof and original skylights, upgrade the gallery lighting system, and make other improvements to infrastructure and for sustainability. As we approach the museum’s fiftieth anniversary in 2027, my colleagues and I feel a renewed sense of responsibility to preserve our landmark building and safeguard our collections for generations to come.
The past year has been one of the busiest and most fruitful in the museum’s history. In addition to meticulously planning and preparing for the renovations, we welcomed more than 43,000 visitors during the eight months that the museum was open; presented major exhibitions and focused installations; loaned objects to museums and institutions in Europe and across the United States; added incredible new works to our collection; hosted conversations, gallery talks, lectures, symposia, tours, and workshops; and shared our resources with families, scholars, students, and visitors from all over the world.