National Art Museum of Sport may leave Indianapolis

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The National Art Museum of Sport is considering leaving Indianapolis, a possible move stemming from the planned conversion of its home at University Place Conference Center and Hotel into a student residence hall for IUPUI.

The museum “is currently evaluating numerous proposals, in multiple cities, in the museum’s search for its next home,” NAMOS said in an announcement Monday morning, attributed to Patrick Perrella, the chairman of its board of trustees. The museum will relocate in 2013.

Later this week, the museum plans to release a request for proposals that details its space requirements, said executive director Elizabeth Varner.

Varner said other locations within the Indianapolis area would be considered, but that its board has an obligation to consider other U.S. cities, as well.

Last Friday, IUPUI officials announced that University Place, a 278-room hotel, would be converted to student housing in 2013.

IUPUI has been a “massive boon for us” given support the university has provided, Varner said.

Varner, NAMOS’ only full-time employee, noted that six graduate students are involved in museum operations.

NAMOS was founded in 1959 and moved to its first permanent location, Madison Square Garden in New York City, in 1968.  It later moved to University of New Haven, in Connecticut, where it was located before moving to Indianapolis.

The museum, which exhibited at the 1987 Pan Am Games in Indianapolis, moved to what is now Chase Tower in 1991. Three years later, it moved to its current home at University Place, 850 W. Michigan St., on the IUPUI campus.

NAMOS said its final exhibit at IUPUI, Speed and Motion: Racing to the Finish Line, will be held May 23.The museum has a collection of about 1,000 pieces.  Its most recent traveling exhibit was The Football Invitational, tied to February’s Super Bowl.

The museum reported $57,666 in revenue, $33,738 in expenses and $212,249 in assets in its 2010 annual financial report. The assets do not include the value of the museums's art collection.

IUPUI said it is converting University Place to student housing after six years of losses totaling $1.8 million.

The facility underwent a $13 million renovation in 2005 and is the Indianapolis-area’s 14th largest hotel.

When converted, the facility sporting IUPUI’s first student cafeteria will be able to house 560 students.  IUPUI Chancellor Charles Bantz last week said there’s a waiting list of more than 200 students currently seeking housing on what had traditionally been a commuter college.

IUPUI owns the facility, which is operated under contract with New York-based Flik Hotels and Convention Centers.  About 150 people are employed at the hotel, with many likely to lose their jobs


  • We should help these guys
    I never even knew this was in the city....wow..We need to help these guys..I went to their web site..we can't set back in let this walk out. There is some great pieces from what I saw. Sports have helped this so much it's a crime we haven't put this out there as an attraction..wow I'm am stunned.
  • Old City Hall
    The old City Hall was used for a Super Bowl art exhibit. Would it be an appropriate home for NAMOS? The location is not ideal as it would be better closer to the convention center and Lucas Oil Stadiuim.
  • Also ignorant
    Genuinely wish I'd heard of it before now. Seeems like a good family activity.
  • If it was successful...
    ...wouldn't we have heard of it before now? Not saying it's good or bad... just wondering if it needs somebody to run it that will give them some publicity, besides when they intend to close it.
  • The what?
    I never knew that existed. Would be cool to check out. It really sounds like something that could be really successful if it had its own wing in the IMA. I see a prosperous partnership opportunity. If that wouldn't materialize then a location near the stadiums and convention center would make for a really cool side visit for convention goers and sports fans. I would have to see a art museum for sports to leave what I feel is truly the sports capital of the world.
  • Agree with Whatever
    Yeah... never heard of it. Our sentiment and I'm sure ohters are maybe why IUPUI isn't too concerned about changing their home?
    I volunteered there when i was a young chap in the early 90's. They put on some great events, with local, national and international celebs of all sorts, but primarily sports related. I remember meeting Indiana Pacers at their events (this was a time they were very hot) and Olympians like Kristi Yamaguchi who had just come back from her Olympics....and lots of others. It was sad to see them move...I was told it was financially related. I knew once they moved, because they were not in a prime location with excellent exposure, little staff, etc. they would loose exposure by nature of the venue and financial limitations. I would love to see them thrive again. If you were involved in the downtown scene back then, you would have known about The National Art Museum of Sport. The need a sponsor to come along side and help them. TO bad they could'nt move into a location like the Marriot until the collection could provide to house themselves in there own prime location. To the 1st commentator's point...i hate to loose NAMOS to another city. We are a SPORTS capitol...Pacers, Colts, Ice, Indians, Swiming, Diving, Tennis, NCAA, Indianapolis 500 to name a few...oh, and that big sports l event we had recently, yeah not the Super Bowl the other one...March Madness...not to mention our thriving art scene...are you kidding me....NAMOS is at home. Maybe someone can get the ear of some investors and maybe get Micheal Graves to design a building for them. Let's get them back in the game...Indy is starving for what they have to offer and Indy is reinventing itself and growing daily. Who will step up????
  • Too Bad...
    ... for you Whatever. It really is quite a nice museum and it would be a shame to lose it, especially considering Indianapolis is though of as the Amateur Sports Caopitol.
  • The what now?
    Sorry, I think I lost focus after I've never heard of it before.

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