New lease for Mexican Museum

The Mexican Museum will not be homeless this Christmas.

The museum’s collection of 12,000 objects, including paintings, sculptures and folk art, is currently in storage at Fort Mason and awaiting a new home in the culturally-rich Yerba Buena district in downtown San Francisco.

That new location, however, likely won’t be ready until after 2014.

Keeping the museum’s pieces at Fort Mason until it has a new home hasn’t been easy. Lease negotiations have been contentious.

However, the museum recently struck a short-term agreement that will allow it to remain in its current location through the end of December, Arts Commission chief Luis Cancel said today.

The agreement will allow the long-shuttered Mexican Museum to “reopen their store, and they are going to mount a temporary exhibition at Fort Mason,” Cancel said.

If that goes well, the museum might be able to extend the lease, Cancel said.

“That’s what of course we are hoping will take place so that we don’t have to incur the risk and expense of trying to relocate the collection of the Mexican Museum off of Fort Mason,” Cancel said.

The museum was founded in 1975 in the Mission district, where it displayed pieces dating from pre-Columbian times to modern Mexico.

But after the museum grew in popularity, it was relocated, in 1982, to Fort Mason in the Marina district.

About 20 years ago, the museum closed its doors to the public as it prepared to relocate to a new museum building in the Yerba Buena district.

But the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency changed its plans for the plot of land where the museum was going to be built, and the collection has been in storage since then.

The Redevelopment Agency now plans to allow a developer to build a condo tower at the site, which is on Mission Street next to the Contemporary Jewish Museum. Plans for the building include space to be set aside for the Mexican Museum.

In August, The Redevelopment Agency approved $280,000 in funding Aug. 4 for planning the museum's move in the Yerba Buena Cultural District.

Later that month, the Board of Supervisors voted unanimously in support of the move.
 

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