NMC breaks ground on Dennos Museum expansion

TRAVERSE CITY — Northwestern Michigan College will break ground on a $5-million expansion to its Dennos Museum Center Monday, August 15 at 11 a.m. The ceremony will be held at the site of the future galleries on the east side of the museum. The project is being funded in part through generous gifts from Diana and Richard Milock and Barbara and Dudley Smith III in 2015.  

Dennos Museum Center Executive Director Gene Jenneman said, “I am thrilled to see the vision that Mike and Barb Dennos helped define in 2006 become a reality in our 25th anniversary year. The final design has evolved thanks to the input of our major donors, the Smith and Milock families, and will be even better than originally planned. When complete, the Dennos will have become a greater cultural asset for the community with significant opportunities to connect more effectively with the College’s academic programs.”

NMC President Timothy J. Nelson said, “This is such an exciting time for Northwestern Michigan College and our community. This expansion at the Dennos is another example of years of planning and working toward our goals now taking shape on our campus. Between this project, our new student housing, and soon our new innovation center, we are preparing our learners and this community to be inspired, thoughtful and engaged citizens.”

The expansion project will add 14,993 square feet to the Dennos Museum and will include:

  • Two new permanent collection galleries
  • A new sculpture gallery
  • A larger Inuit gallery
  • Additional classroom space
  • Backstage storage space for musical equipment
  • Improved loading dock

The Dennos Museum Center first opened its doors in July 1991 after a $6.5-million community campaign.

The expansion is slated for completion next summer to top off the Dennos’ 25th year.  

During the groundbreaking ceremony artists from around the region will be highlighting their own specially designed commemorative shovels to add a unique visual element to the event. Members of the community are encouraged to design and bring their own shovels to the groundbreaking to join in the celebration.

Northwestern Michigan College is a publicly funded community college that serves more than 50,000 learners annually throughout the Grand Traverse region and beyond. NMC offers associate degrees, professional certificates and bachelor’s degrees. The college is home to the Great Lakes Water Studies Institute, the Great Lakes Maritime Academy, the Great Lakes Culinary Institute as well as nationally-recognized aviation and unmanned systems programs. For more information, visit nmc.edu.

The Michael and Barbara Dennos Museum Center at Northwestern Michigan College is the region’s premier cultural center offering world class programming in the visual and performing arts. The museum offers a changing array of exhibitions in three galleries and a sculpture court; features a "hands on" Discovery Gallery; and a Gallery of Inuit art, the museum’s major permanent collection. The museum’s 367­-seat Milliken Auditorium offers concerts in blues, jazz, chamber and world music and hosts the productions of numerous performing arts groups in the region. For more information, visit dennosmuseum.org.

Editor's note: Drawings of renovation and addition plans are available here.

RELEASE DATE: August 11, 2016

For more information:

Gene Jenneman
Executive Director of NMC’s Dennos Museum Center
(231) 995-1572


Northwestern Michigan College is committed to a policy of equal opportunity for all persons and does not unlawfully discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, disability, genetic information, height, weight, marital status or veteran status in employment, educational programs and activities, and admissions. nmc.edu/non-discrimination