National Museum of American Jewish History announces plans to build a new facility

The National Museum of American Jewish History on Thursday announced plans to build a new facility that it hopes will raise its profile and quadruple the number of annual visitors.

Museum director Gwen Goodman would not disclose the price of the building, which houses two TV and two radio stations. The sale should close in June, she said.

Goodman expects the building to be demolished in the spring of 2007. The museum would move about two years later into the new facility, which would be 80,000 square feet (7,200 square meters) to 100,000 square feet (9,000 square meters).

Its current 15,000-square-foot (1,350-square-meter) home has only 2,600 square feet (234 square meters) of exhibition space. It hosts 50,000 to 65,000 visitors annually.

"We have to turn down a lot of exhibits that are offered to us because we don't have the space for them," Goodman said.

With a more prominent location within a block of the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, the new facility could attract 250,000 people in its first year, Goodman said.

Officials at the museum an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution are in the midst of a $100 million (Ђ85.5 million) fund-raising campaign in anticipation of the project.

Architect James Polshek has begun drawing preliminary designs for the new site. His firm, Polshek Partnership of New York, has designed the American Museum of Natural History's Rose Center for Earth and Space, the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of the American Indian, and the Clinton Presidential Center, AP reports. P.T.

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