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Smithsonian’s Freer Gallery to close in 2016 for renovations

 

Charles Lindbergh’s “Spirit of St. Louis” aircraft, one of the premiere artifacts at the National Air and Space Museum, is seen on the ground floor of the museum, Thursday, Jan. 15, 2015, after being lowered for the first time in more than 20 years to have conservation work done and giving visitors a rare chance to see it up close in Washington. Lindbergh made the first solo trans-Atlantic flight and landed in Paris in 1927. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Charles Lindbergh’s “Spirit of St. Louis” aircraft, one of the premiere artifacts at the National Air and Space Museum, is seen on the ground floor of the museum, Thursday, Jan. 15, 2015, after being lowered for the first time in more than 20 years to have conservation work done and giving visitors a rare chance to see it up close in Washington. Lindbergh made the first solo trans-Atlantic flight and landed in Paris in 1927. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

WASHINGTON (AP) — One of the Smithsonian’s museums devoted to Asian art will close next year for a major renovation.

The Freer Gallery of Art announced Wednesday that it will close to the public Jan. 4, 2016. It’s expected to reopen in 2017. The renovations will begin this month behind the scenes to bring the museum’s technology and infrastructure up to date.

The Freer opened in 1923 as the Smithsonian’s first art museum. It was also the first major museum in the Western hemisphere devoted to Asian art. The building on the National Mall is a National Historic Landmark.

The renovation will include enhancements to gallery spaces and the museum’s auditorium for performances. The project will be funded with federal and donated funds.

The adjacent Sackler Gallery will remain open during the renovation.

 

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