Located at the entry of Auburn University, the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art, one of only 6% of museums in the country to be accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, features a collection of 2,000 art pieces ranging from traditional to contemporary.
The museum’s primary mission, aside from the university’s commitment to implore the arts in daily lives, is to foster the transformative power of art through its display of six changing galleries. In addition to rotating galleries the museum is complete with an auditorium, cafe, gift shop, and an English-inspired woodland landscape complete with additional art pieces.
Originally constructed in 2003, the museum is named in honor of Jule Collins Smith, whose husband Albert Smith donated $3 million to the project as a gift in celebration of the couple’s 50th wedding anniversary and love of the arts. While the museum has thrived since its opening, Auburn University made the important decision to renovate the museum in order to better connect guests with the transformative art on display.
While staff was happy with the aesthetics of the space, the acoustics within the space were significantly altering the intended museum experience. Testing of the space revealed that areas of the museum recorded reverberation times as long as 4.5 seconds, making conversation or performances within the space incredibly difficult to understand. Of utmost importance to the renovation was remedying acoustic issues, while preserving the current aesthetic.
The museum chose to install BASWA Phon Sound Absorbing plaster to the ceilings of the Grand Gallery, Dwight and Helen Carlisle Lobby, and the museum cafe in order to improve reverberation time and foster intelligible experiences within the space. BASWA Phon is designed to seamlessly integrate to walls or ceilings in order to reduce reverberation time and better connect guests with the space they are occupying. Reduction in reverberation time not only makes intended sounds more intelligible, but provides a level of tranquility and comfort within a space.
With the installation of BASWA Phon the reverberation within the museum’s high traffic spaces was reduced to 1.5 seconds. “This is a very hard-working space for the art museum,” said Charlotte Hendrix, communications and marketing specialist for the art museum. “You could come in on a Thursday and there will be a musical performance. Then we'll have children's programming in here. The next night there could be an event for our members, and then on Saturday a wedding. So there are different types of visitors coming in, and we want to make sure that the conversations they have about their days, as well as the art, are meaningful and heard.”
The Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art is now reopen to the public as it continues its mission to connect patrons with the transformative power of art under a BASWA Phon ceiling fostering meaningful experiences.
Learn more about the ideal acoustic environment in a museum. To learn more about the BASWA Phon System used in the Jule Collins Museum of Fine Art, click here. Or contact us directly to speak to a dedicated member of our team.