What's new: Construction is underway on a $275-million renovation, adding 76,000 square feet to the original 134,000-square-foot complex. Due to open in fall 2005, the remade villa will focus on Greek and Roman antiquities, complete with an amphitheater entrance.
Why: "The Getty Center was never seen as a substitute for the villa," Getty Museum director Deborah Gribbon says. "We want the villa to reach its full potential, not simply as a museum of antiquities, but also as a teaching facility and a center for conservation, scholarship and public programs."
Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens
1151 Oxford Road, San Marino
Basics: Founded in 1919, the Huntington specializes in English and American history, literature, art and culture, and occupies the 207-acre estate of railroad magnate Henry Edwards Huntington.
What's new: The first components of a $25-million botanical center are already in use; it will be finished in 2005. A $21-million addition to the library is due for completion at the end of 2004. A $10-million Chinese garden is also under construction, completion date unknown. A $6-million, 16,000-square-foot addition to the American art gallery, to be designed by L.A. architect Frederick Fisher, is slated for completion in summer 2005.
Why: "These new facilities," Huntington President Steven S. Koblik says, "give us the capacity to fulfill the mission that Mr. Huntington set out as creatively and forcefully as we can."
Skirball Cultural Center
2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles
Basics: Conceived in 1983, the center opened its Sepulveda Pass complex in 1996. It explores connections between Jewish heritage and American democratic ideals.
What's new: A $35-million project is under construction. It will add a 16,000-square-foot exhibition space, children's facilities and a 350-seat amphitheater to the 350,000-square-foot institution, and is set to open in 2004 and 2005.
Why: "As we came to understand the dramatic impact we were having through our school outreach programs, we decided that we not only could be a venue for major exhibitions with more gallery space, but could also serve more children, of even younger ages, were we to expand," Skirball President Uri D. Herscher says.
Brookside Park, Pasadena
Basics: Closed since January in preparation for a move, Kidspace was launched in 1979 as a community project, and incorporated in 1981 as a nonprofit, interactive learning environment that promotes imagination, exploration and discovery.
What's new: A $13.5-million complex designed by L.A. architect Michael Maltzan and slated to open in spring 2004, it encompasses three 1930s-era barns and a new 18,000-square-foot building, complete with galleries and a theater, on the site of the former Fannie Morrison Horticultural Center.
Why: Kidspace outgrew its longtime home in the 1990s, leading to plans for a new state-of-the-art museum that would serve 30,000 visitors annually
On the waiting list
Autry National Center of the American West
4700 Western Heritage Way, Los Angeles
Basics: Founded in 1907, the collection-rich, cash-poor Southwest Museum, right, has agreed to merge its Native American art and artifacts with the collection-poor, cash-rich Autry Museum of Western Heritage, left, founded in 1988.
What's new: The museums will maintain separate identities but operate as subsidiaries of the new center. Plans are under discussion to expand the Autry's building in Griffith Park and to restore the Southwest's historic home on Mt. Washington.
Why: "We have a world-class collection, but we do not have a world-class museum," says Duane King, Southwest director. It should be easier to attract support and do justice to the collection under auspices of an organization that will be "greater than the sum of its parts."
Bowers Museum of Cultural Art
2002 N. Main St., Santa Ana
Basics: Founded in 1936, it displays a varied collection of art and artifacts, and presents international exhibitions that promote human understanding through art.
What's new: A 40,000-square-foot wing containing an auditorium and gallery space designed by Corona del Mar architect Robert Coffee, to be funded by a $4-million grant from the state and an unspecified sum of private funds, yet to be raised. The time line hasn't been set. The existing museum can accommodate loans under a new partnership with the British Museum but more space is needed for other international ventures.
Why: "There's a lot of competition for the recreational dollar. If you are going to attract people, you have to change, freshen your exhibits and have the best museum you can," says Donald P. Kennedy, chairman of the board of governors.
California Science Center
700 State Drive, Los Angeles
Basics: Founded in 1880 as the California Museum of Science and Industry, the center presents interactive displays that explore scientific principles and phenomena.