Getty Gets Grand Opening
Posted by Fernando Roldan on Feb 5, 2006 - 11:44:00 PM

MALIBU- For thousand of fans of ancient art, the wait is over as the extension of the former J. Paul Getty Museum in Malibu, the Getty Villa, reopened last Saturday after a nine year renovation lift.


About 1,000 visitors packed a sold out museum in attendance, according to Tracy Gilbert, Getty Senior Communications Specialist. Total cost of the renovation was $275 million, Gilbert added.


The mission of the historical landmark is to have an educational center and museum dedicated to the study of the cultures and arts of ancient Rome, Greece and Etruria, according to a Getty press release. It includes the Entry Pavilion, a scenic walk with an elevator built on the foot of a canyon towards the entrance of the museum itself. The purpose of this is so visitors can look down on the Villa as if looking down on an excavation to discover artifacts within the landscape, also according to the press release.


“We worked to reverse the difficulties created by the steep topography, transforming it from a barrier into a virtue of the overall campus,” Jorge Silvetti, principal of architects Machado and Silvetti Associates, Inc., said in the press release. “Now, visitors can wander through the lush site, following the contours of the design and terrain, to experience the drama of an archeological dig. Here we have uncovered, as it were, previously hidden artifacts that are presented to visitors as if they were his or her discovery.”


Machado and Silvetti Associates, Inc., a company based in Boston, was selected in 1994 by the key leaders of the Getty trust for the renovation, according to the press release.


Another key addition to the Villa is the 450-seat Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman Theater; an outdoor classical theater designed in the ancient traditions and will be used in the fall for famous plays and performances, according to the press release.

But the most important project ever made for the Villa is the establishment of the UCLA/Getty Master’s Program on the Conservation of Ethnographic and Archeological Materials, the first program of its kind in the United States. This program is a collaborative partnership between the Cotsen Institute of Archeology at UCLA and the Getty Conservation Institute, according to the press release.


In 1968, millionaire businessman and philanthropist J. Paul Getty began plans to construct a Roman-style villa on the 64-acre land in Malibu that he purchased in 1945. Getty was fascinated with the ancient world of the Mediterranean and wanted to model a building after the Villa dei Papiri, a country house in Herculean that was buried by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 A.D., according to the release. Ground breaking began in 1970 and the J. Paul Getty Museum was opened from 1974 to 1997 until the trustees transferred the artifacts to the new building in Westwood.


“The Getty Villa, which was the original site of the J. Paul Getty Museum, has been a significant cultural landmark in Los Angeles for some time, and one that our Trustees and staff are pleased to share again with a variety of audiences,” Getty Trust president and chief executive officer Barry Munitz said.


Gilbert said tickets are sold out for awhile, but encourages customers to keep checking on the Getty website at for available tickets.