The Hyde Collection Master Plan

“The Hyde Collection is an art museum with an extraordinary collection of more than 3,000 objects, including works by Rembrandt, Rubens, Picasso, Renoir, and Hassam. The institution is a product of the golden age of the private art collector (ca. 1890-1940) and an example of a rare genre of museums created during the American Renaissance. One of the few organizations of its kind in upstate New York, The Hyde is the legacy of art collectors Louis and Charlotte Hyde, who acquired objects of artistic significance, amassed collections, and left them for the public to experience and enjoy within their own early twentieth-century residence, an environment created for their display.” (from The Hyde Collection website)

OEA was engaged in 2010 to explore strategies for The Hyde Collection’s growth as envisioned in the museum’s Strategic Plan and in the context of the re-acquisition of historic Hoopes House – reuniting the three original homes owned by the Pruyn sisters (including the museum’s founder Charlotte Pruyn Hyde) on a shared estate – and the possible acquisition of the historic turn-of-the-century Glens Falls Armory. The early days of The Hyde Collection were confined to Hyde House and its immediate surrounding gardens. Since then the museum has re-acquired almost the entire original family estate, but in doing so has shifted the center of gravity of the campus and introduced another set of challenges for an integrated visitor experience. Further, in the context of this expanded campus, the 1989 Edward Larrabee Barnes building connecting two of the original houses now feels somewhat oddly placed as the museum’s front entrance.

Building on the institution’s 2009 Strategic Plan, OEA conducted a three-month feasibility study, which developed a preliminary “high-altitude” view of the institution’s opportunities for integrated growth, and is currently engaged in a campus master plan that examines facility expansion strategies that are sensitive to the historic importance of the original structures and their landscape, and taking advantage of the site’s dramatic topography above the Hudson River. At the start of the master plan, OEA worked closely with museum staff and the Facilities and Campus Planning Committee to develop an existing space inventory and a future space needs analysis, which informed the planning of a series of expansion scenarios. OEA’s work focuses on rethinking the campus to enhance the visitor experience and celebrate not only the collection, but the historic buildings and grounds that are an integral part of the story of the family that assembled the collection and had such an impact on the cultural, economic, and civic life of Glens Falls.