A friend sent me this article.  We wondered if Princeton art museum officials and the architect for the new museum had visited the reconstructed and expanded Cleveland Museum of Art, which in many respects is the first major 21st century art museum built in the U.S. with the exception of the Walton family’s Crystal Bridges in Bentonville, Arkansas, which I’ve yet to visit.

Certain descriptions of the new Princeton art museum reflect features of the Cleveland Museum of Art, such as the use of natural light and the desire to provide direct access to galleries in order to eliminate gallery hierarchies.

What was conspicuously and surprisingly absent from the discussion of the new Princeton museum was any discussion of its digital capabilities.  The new Cleveland Museum of Art is recognized for its digital capabilities throughout the physical museum, many of them ground-breaking, and the integration of the museum into the virtual world.  As individuals who find the digital capabilities of the Cleveland Museum of Art as transformative, we can’t imagine building a 21st century art museum without these capabilities, especially at a technologically adept university such as Princeton.

Due to the COVID-19, the CMA’s interactive ArtLens Gallery is closed, but the Artlens app still is available and working throughout the museum.

Jon Beckwith
Shaker Heights, Ohio