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Ackland Art Museum staff extends Thursday hours

In an effort to accommodate student and faculty schedules and promote downtown Chapel Hill nightlife, the Ackland Art Museum is extending their Thursday hours.

For the first time in the museum’s history, it has added evening hours on Thursdays until 8 p.m.

“Realizing from our own schedules and the people we know — we work during the day. We don’t have time to go to a museum,” said Emily Kass, art director for the Ackland Art Center.

The extension of gallery hours was slated to happen last fall but was canceled because of an uncertain budget.

But this year, creativity made the extension possible.

“We figured out there was a way to reorganize our security guards’ time so that we could actually extend the hours without having to add more funding,” Kass said.

Noticing an increase in activity on Franklin Street, the museum chose Thursday night to add three additional hours.

To celebrate the first Thursday night with extended hours, the museum hosted a gallery talk with curator Timothy Riggs about their fall exhibit, “The Guardian and the Avant-Garde.”

Ackland staff members were excited about both the gallery talk and the extension of hours.

“For students who are busy, the extended hours are great to take advantage of the art and study galleries,” said Carrie Faur, a junior work-study student at the museum.

She said the gallery talk was great for bringing attention to the longer hours.

But some expressed dismay at the extended hours.

“If you have the activities to get people in here, then it’s fine,” said Reggie Edwards, a security guard for the museum.

The museum has no plans to continue with Thursday night events yet but is open to the idea.

“I think our original intention was just to have the museum open and available,” Kass said. “But we will see if there is an interest in more live programming, and we’ll do that.”

Although the extra hours add work for the Ackland staff members, they welcome the undertaking.

“It may be a little more work, but this is something we have always wanted to do,” Kass said.

The museum plans to make more accommodations for people who cannot visit during regularly scheduled hours.

“We will see how it goes. If we get a good turnout, we could look to do the same thing on Tuesday nights or Sunday nights,” Kass said.

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