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Monroe-Brown Foundation and Brown Family Give $450,000 Towards New Building

Frederick "Fritz," Susan and Bob Brown

Frederick "Fritz," Susan and Bob Brown

The Monroe-Brown Foundation and longtime UM supporters Robert M. (Bob) Brown and Susan Crumpacker Brown of Kalamazoo, Michigan, have generously donated $450,000 in support of UMMA's building project. The combined gifts will be recognized in the naming of the Albertine Monroe-Brown Open Storage Gallery in honor of Bob's mother, and the Eleanor Noyes Crumpacker Director's Conference Room, in honor of Mrs. Brown's mother, a 1936 UM graduate, in the expanded and renovated Museum.

Susan received her AB from Michigan's School of Literature, Science, and the Arts in 1963. She is a member of the Museum's National Advisory Board and also serves on the University's Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy Advisory Board. A UM graduate (BS Engineering, 1963) and former football team captain, Bob is Chairman of Treystar, Inc., a real estate development firm that specializes in shopping malls and office parks. He currently serves as Vice Chair of the University's Michigan Difference National Campaign Leadership Committee, as Chair of the Kalamazoo Michigan Difference Campaign, as a member of the President's Advisory Group, and on the UM Health System Advisory Board.

"With such strong family ties to UM all around and my active involvement with UMMA over many years, there was no question we wanted to help ensure a dynamic future for the Museum," said Susan. "James Steward is truly one of the most exceptional museum directors in the country and this building project is a testament to his leadership."

"Bob and Susan Brown are two of the most committed and enthusiastic UM supporters I have the privilege of knowing," said UMMA Director James Steward. "Their belief in museums as particularly important and innovative centers of learning for students of all ages is as deeply felt as it is infectious. I am so pleased that they have honored us with these gifts that reflect their values."

The Albertine Monroe-Brown Open Storage Gallery will be located on the renovated second floor of Alumni Memorial Hall. Some 1,200 objects from the Museum's collections will be on view in this "open storage" space, a new type of display environment coming to be found in a few U.S. museums to provide visual access to larger numbers of works of art than can be accommodated in typical gallery spaces. Ideally suited to both public access and research access for scholars, the Monroe-Brown Open Storage Gallery will provide for dense display, relying on visitor-activated links to the Museum's digital databases for factual and interpretive information about the objects on view.

Located on the second floor of the new Frankel Wing in the Museum's administrative area, the Eleanor Noyes Crumpacker Director's Conference Room will provide a long-needed boardroom space for meetings of Museum management, the National Advisory Board, committees, and community partners.

The Browns have four children, two of whom are also UM alumni: Frederick (AB 90, MPP 96), Catherine (AB 98), Robert Jr., and Andrew.

In addition to their gifts to UMMA, the Browns have supported many other University units, including Athletics; Clements Library; School of Engineering; Ford School of Public Policy; Hill Auditorium; LS&A; Medical School; School of Music, Theatre & Dance; Ross School of Business; and University Hospitals.