MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - The Brooks Museum of Art may be looking to move out of Overton Park.
It's one possibility laid out in a note to members from the museum's executive director. The thought of the 101-year-old museum moving shocked some Memphians.
"It's very surprising," said Tondrick Tate, a lifelong Memphian.
Tate wasn't alone in his opinion, as a handful of Memphians WMC Action News 5 spoke with Wednesday said the announcement from the 101-year-old Brooks Museum of Art came as a shock.
"I like it where it is," said Mike Deaderick," I was sorry to hear it."
The museum director and board president put out a note to supporters Tuesday stating that relocation is an option as the largest and oldest art museum in the state of Tennessee looks to the future. A spokesperson for the museum said Wednesday the board was prepared to launch a number of capital campaigns over the years, but forces outside of their control derailed them, like the great recession a few years ago.
The museum contains three buildings, one built in 1973 that is not seismically sound. Options for rebuilding and retrofitting range from $30 to $84 million. Given the cost, museum staff will look at a potential move, which could be more economical. The museum would stay in Memphis city limits if it moves. There is no precise timetable, but a decision is expected this fall.
The museum leaders said in their statement Tuesday that any expansion would continue to allow them to attract art collections.
"What would they put in the park in the spot of the museum to replace it?" asked Tate.
If the Brooks packs up shop, Overton Park will have a hole to fill, leaving midtown missing a big tenant for the sake of space.
"I guess if they need it, they're going to have to do something," said Deaderick.
Overton Park Conservancy released the following statement about the museum's potential move:
Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland's Office has not released a statement on the art museum's potential move.
Read the full note sent to the art museum's supporters: