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St. Louis Art Museum closes to get ready for Grand Opening of Expanded Museum

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ST. LOUIS, MO. (KTVI) - For the first time in its history, the St. Louis Art Museum has completely shut down.

The landmark just closed at 5 p.m. Sunday.

It will remain closed until the grand opening of the newly expanded museum, June 29th.

FOX 2 got an inside look, Sunday, at what's to come and whether it's worth the wait.

The 'wow' factor will only multiply between now and the grand opening; when the wraps come off of the $130 million art museum expansion; Aside from museum staff, few have gotten the peek inside the new east building Fox 2 viewers got, Sunday:   from a tapestry by an African artist, made from the metal collars of liquor bottles to the fascinating works of Gerhard Richter,  from the abstract, to a classic painting of his daughter, which looks more like a photo.

Brian Davis, of Owensville, and his family decided on a whim Father`s Day morning
to go the museum and turn their soggy  camping trip, into a day to remember.

They were sad about the things they weren`t going to be able to see yet, but not nearly as sad as they`d have been if they`d come a day later and the museum had already closed for the next 13 days.

'I would be jumping up and down mad!' said Tristan Davis, 6.

'We`ve never seen what`s inside of it, so it`ll be a whole new experience,' said his big sister, Shayla, 12.

'We woke up it was pouring down rain at the camp site.  We had 3-4 choices.  We decided this was the one.  Perfect timing!' Brian Davis said.

There is much to do in these 13 days.  There is construction to complete, staff to train, and a new restaurant to open.

'We`re in the kitchen. We`re cooking.  We`re experimenting with recipes, doing some research and development, just getting ready for our July 1 opening in Panorama,' said Head Chef, Edward Farrow.

Farrow left his job at a Phoenix museum to open the new Panorama restaurant here.

His staff has certainly been inspired by their surroundings.

'You have to live up to the building.  The architecture of the new wing is incredible.  The architecture of the old wing is incredible.  Just with all the art, it really pushes us to be at our best, every single day; every single plate,' Farrow said.

Panorama opens July 1, 2 days after the museum grand opening.

The expanded museum will feature about 80,000 thousand square feet of new exhibit space allowing works to be displayed that haven't been seen for more than 20 years.

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