You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.


  • ePAPER

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks


Welcome to

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on

This won’t be your father’s museum when Norton expansion completed

It’s not like adding a room to your house.

The Norton Museum of Art’s $60 million expansion requires acoustics experts, landscape architects, security experts, arborists and a Pritzker Award-winning architecture team.

The result, Norton Deputy Director James Brayton Hall says, will be a work of world-class design like none other in the city, with new indoor and garden galleries, an auditorium and community spaces that make the museum more a community gathering place than, as some people see a museum, a mausoleum that contains art.

“We have two prime directives in our museum: art and audience,” he said.

If ladies want to sit in the Great Hall, play canasta and never look at a painting, that’s great, Hall says. If office workers want a peaceful place to take a mid-day break and drink a cup of coffee while working on their laptops, all the better, he says.

“We want people to come in and interact with the museum completely and not just with the art,” he says.

Prep work is scheduled to start in mid-September, including a protective fence around the expansive 75-year-old banyan tree on South Dixie Highway that plays an integral role in Foster + Partners’ architectural design. Completion is anticipated by fall or winter of 2018.

Gone will be the Mediterranean colors and warehouse contours of the South Dixie frontage. “Sparkling white modernism” is the idea, Hall says.

The main entry, on the south side of the museum, will move to the west, the South Dixie side. A broad but thin overhang will extend over the front of the building, its brushed aluminum underside capturing light from a reflective pool below.

A cutout in the overhang will allow the banyan tree to branch out in front of and above the museum, its natural lines softening the building’s crisp angles.

Three arborists were consulted to make sure the structure wouldn’t compromise the tree’s survival and the design was adjusted accordingly. The cutout was enlarged, and the reflective pool was shortened to give the roots more space, for example.

Most parking for the museum will be across South Dixie. The parking lot just south of the museum will be converted into a 9,000-square-foot sculpture garden. A freestanding wall will be built on the east side of that garden where films and slideshows can be projected during special events.

Inside, in addition to adding 12,000 square feet of gallery space, the project will include a 210-seat auditorium, an education center and a dining pavilion with a garden terrace.

The auditorium, with its fine-tuned acoustics and multi-level seating, will be a key improvement for the museum, intimate enough to have an audience of 80 attend a lecture without the room seeming empty but large enough to host bigger events. Since new projection and audio visual equipment is being installed, programs with overflow crowds could be simulcast in the auditorium and other parts of the building.

Acoustic design is being applied throughout the building — to keep sound from children’s classrooms upstairs from spilling into the galleries, for example.

A lot of thought also was put into where to allow light to enter the building, Hall says.

The interior of the auditorium will be visible through corner windows to visitors entering the building. The Great Hall, with its 44-foot ceiling height will have a tall vertical window framing a view of the banyan tree. The dining area will open onto the sculpture garden.

The design divides the building into three sections, each with its own entry. That separation will allow events such as lectures, weddings, bar mitzvahs, neighborhood association meetings and galas to take place without the galleries having to be open, Hall says.

The museum gets about 100,000 visitors a year, including 16,000 children.

Admission, generally $12, will not change as a result of the project, Hall says. In fact, a gift has allowed the museum to offer free admission to Palm Beach County residents every Saturday for the next two years.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Local

NEW: Wellington Idol winner suffers knife wounds in village robbery
NEW: Wellington Idol winner suffers knife wounds in village robbery

A former Wellington Idol winner sustained knife wounds on her hand when a man tackled her and took her purse in the parking lot of a Wellington Chase Bank on Wednesday morning, she told the Palm Beach Post. Jessica Leow, 23, was leaving the bank on the corner of Greenview Shores Boulevard and Wellington Trace at about 11:15 a.m. when she noticed a...
Kenny Chesney has mad love for this bar in Delray Beach
Kenny Chesney has mad love for this bar in Delray Beach

Kenny Chesney, the People’s Superstar and country sangin’ legend, showed Palm Beach County a lot of love recently. The multi-award winning artist announced on his Sirius XM radio channel, Kenny Chesney’s No Shoes Radio, that Delray’s own Boston’s on the Beach is one of his faves.  In a weekly segment called Kenny...
NEW: Woman accused of hiding babies’ body parts arrested in Florida
NEW: Woman accused of hiding babies’ body parts arrested in Florida

A woman wanted in connection with the discovery of babies’ body parts under a home in North Carolina was arrested in Jacksonville on Wednesday.  Police said Bridgette Smith, 31, had a warrant for her arrest for concealing a death, WJXT reports.  In April 2016  Smith’s mother discovered trash bags containing body...
BET Awards 2017: What time, what channel, who is nominated, performing
BET Awards 2017: What time, what channel, who is nominated, performing

Some of the biggest artists in rap, hip hop, pop, R&B, movies and TV will be at the BET Awards on Sunday. Remy Ma, DJ Khaled, New Edition and more  are scheduled to be at the show at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.  Here’s what you need to know before the show: What time: 8 p.m. ET What channel: BET, with live streams on
Ex-Bak Middle School treasurer arrested on forgery charges
Ex-Bak Middle School treasurer arrested on forgery charges

A former Bak Middle School of the Arts treasurer suspected in the disappearance of more than $66,000 in school money was arrested Friday on check-forgery charges related to the case, nine months after authorities had ruled out criminal charges against her. Cathleen Spring, 53, was booked into the Palm Beach County Jail shortly after midnight Friday...
More Stories