William King Museum will have new name, stay in current location

ABINGDON, Va. - The William King Museum announced Saturday that they've decided to stay in their current location on Academy Drive in Abingdon. The museum has searched for a new home since they announced their plan to move back in 2010.

"We've looked at all sorts of locations since then, all around Abingdon and into Bristol, but decided we have so much here," said Marcy Miller, the museum's executive director.

Miller told us it makes more financial sense to stay and do renovations. They'll do this under a new name, William King Museum of Art.

The art museum received a $500,000 gift from Marvin and Marcia Gilliam, that will help get them started on the project. Miller told us, despite that, they'll need additional help from the community.

"We're still planning," said Miller. "Eventually, we do want to start a capital campaign to get some help doing all of these renovations."

Miller told us they will paint, make the museum more handicap accessible and update their security system.

The Town of Abingdon has agreed to help improve the roadways.

"We're very pleased to partner with the William King Museum of Art to help improve accessibility and visibility to this wonderful facility," said Mayor Ed Morgan.

Morgan said they plan to widen Academy Drive and landscape it. They will start advertising bids this week and hope to award a contract in May. The construction could start as soon as June, according to Morgan.

The announcement came as good news to the studio artists at the museum.

"At one point there were plans to move and build a new building that did not include artist studios," said sculptor Val Lyle, who has a studio at the museum.

Lyle told us she's glad she'll be able to continue her work there.

"I'm very happy with this announcement," she said.

The museum has also decided to get rid of it's entrance fee. Visitors can now see the exhibits free of charge.

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