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Thursday, 25 January, 2001, 12:33 GMT
Royal Academy doubles in size
The Museum of Mankind
The Museum of Mankind has been bought for 5m
The Royal Academy of Arts is to double in size after agreeing to purchase the nearby Museum of Mankind, which it first tried to buy more than 100 years ago.

The academy has paid the Department for Culture, Media and Sport 5m for the museum's building, which is directly behind the arts institution in Burlington Gardens, Mayfair, central London.

It is currently occupied by the British Museum which will move out from January 2004.

Norman Ackroyd, Peter Blake and David Hockney with Chris Smith MP and Phillip King
Royal Academicians welcome in the new era
However, the Academy will be allowed to start using part of the museum before then.

The building will provide a large new gallery to show work by Royal Academicians, students and other contemporary artists, as well as providing a home for the Royal Academy Schools.

An arcade to link the two buildings has been proposed and the academy will be seeking lottery assistance towards the estimated 40m cost.

The Royal Academy is one of the most prestigious art institutions in the world. In recent years it has hosted popular exhibitions of Monet's works, as well as controversial shows Sensation and Apocalypse.

'Unique'

President of the Royal Academy, Professor Phillip King, said: "The academy is unique in being a place governed by artists where art is exhibited, made, debated and sold - all under one roof.

"It has a vitality and creative force which will be enhanced by this additional space. Burlington Gardens opens a new era for the Royal Academy".

Culture Secretary Chris Smith said: "The Academy tried to get hold of Burlington Gardens in 1900 but was beaten at the time by the Civil Service Commission.

"I am delighted to have played a part in seeing that, 100 years after the Academy's last attempt to purchase Burlington Gardens, art has finally triumphed.

"It seems entirely fitting that the former home of the Museum of Mankind will continue to play an important role in the cultural life of London finding a new purpose as a centre for the arts and education."

See also:

09 Jan 01 | Entertainment
Pop goes the Royal Academy
28 Nov 00 | Entertainment
Photographer wins Turner Prize
27 Dec 00 | Entertainment
The year art was hot
20 Sep 00 | UK
Art's shock treatment
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