The Hyde Collection has received a $30,000 donation from Stewart’s Shops and the Dake family which owns the company.
Museum officials said the gift is a first step toward renovating the aging Helen Froehlich Auditorium, a 132-seat space used for lectures, film screenings, concerts, special events and more.
“The Hyde Collection is honored to receive this generous leadership gift from Stewart’s and the Dake family,” said Anne Saile, interim director of the museum. “This is an investment not just in the auditorium, but in The Hyde’s future.”
The museum has a long history with Stewart’s, as the company—a family- and employee-run chain with 335 local stores across northern New York and southern Vermont—provides annual grants to help fund the Hyde’s weekly free children’s programs.
“Stewart’s recognizes the importance of The Hyde’s arts and education combined mission to the well-being of all our shops’ communities,” said Susan Law Dake, president of Stewart’s Foundation. “Stewart’s is pleased to help The Hyde update the Helen Froehlich auditorium, enabling the Museum to further its reach.”
The Helen Froehlich Auditorium was built in 1989, as part of the addition of the modern museum complex to Hyde House. Named after Helen Froehlich, an arts patron who created a trust that provides annual support to the museum’s operating costs, the theater-style space is in need of updating.
“The museum’s mission is to make the arts accessible to everyone, so we would love to offer better options for our visitors who have hearing or sight issues,” Saile said. “With all the advances in video and sound since our last renovation, this project is long overdue.”
Planned improvements include purchase and installation of a full-range speaker system, mixer, wireless microphones, a mobile media lectern for presentations, recording capability, sound mixing, an interface with Charles R. Wood Gallery to allow simultaneous broadcast from the lower-level auditorium to the first-floor main gallery for large events, and control booth modifications. Video upgrades will include projection equipment to allow both computer-based presentations and film screenings.
The project includes the addition of an AV system in the adjacent Art Studio for use in education programming and to allow A/V from the auditorium to be shared in the Art Studio and Rotunda when event overflow seating is needed. Existing lighting controls and dimmer, which are failing, will be replaced, and the lighting fixtures throughout the auditorium will be retrofitted or replaced to incorporate LED technology.
Saile pointed to the museum serving as a screening site for Adirondack Film Festival in fall 2017.
“We were thrilled to be a part of such an incredible community event. The tie-in to Vincent van Gogh—which gave us a great excuse to exhibit a rarely seen work by the artist from our permanent collection—made The Hyde the perfect place to see the amazing hand-painted ‘Loving Vincent,’” she said. “But to participate, we had to rent the necessary equipment. We really are at a point where the changes are necessary.”
The nonprofit museum is in the early stages of planning the renovation.