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The art of a reopening at the Wadsworth

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HARTFORD -- After five years of renovations, the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford is ready for its grand reopening.

The cracked walls, leaky roofs and crumbling plaster have all been restored, refurbished or replaced; part of a $33 million plan that has brought the museum that opened in 1842 back to its original grandeur.

"This is absolutely a thrilling time to be here," said Susan Talbott, the director and CEO of the Wadsworth. "We essentially did a floor to rooftop renovation in all of our five buildings."

All told, the museum has revitalized about 38,000 square feet of museum space.

Talbott says she will not miss the frequent midnight calls to her house reporting various leaks throughout the museum.

"Staffers would come in during the middle of the night and take paintings off the wall and put them in safe storage," she said.

While the museum never actually closed, this will mark the first time in 50 years that every gallery will be opened to view the treasured collection of works.

Additionally, the remodeling of the Wadsworth has created about 27 percent more floor space and an additional 17 galleries for visitors to enjoy.

"We are so proud," Talbott said. "We have completely re-imagined the collection."

The Wadsworth will celebrate its grand reopening on September 19, and,  for that Saturday only, admission will be free. For more information click here.

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