Colorado State University Avenir Museum of Design and Merchandising Breaking Ground on New Facility; Director Named

Note to Reporters: A photo of director Doreen Beard and a rendering of the Avenir Museum expansion are available with this release at

Colorado State University’s highly regarded Avenir Museum of Design and Merchandising has designs on an exciting future thanks to a lead gift from the Avenir Foundation and funding from other benefactors. These gifts and ongoing fundraising efforts are supporting breaking ground on a new and remodeled facility at CSU’s University Center for the Arts and naming a museum director, a newly created position.

CSU President Tony Frank will attend the ground-breaking ceremony at 10:30 a.m. Monday at the museum, 216 E. Lake St. in Fort Collins.

The project includes remodelling approximately 8,000 square feet in the current Avenir Museum facility and adding 10,000 square feet, allowing for two galleries, classroom and seminar space, a conservation laboratory and expanded collection storage and management areas. This transformation advances hands-on teaching and research access to the Avenir Museum collection.

“We are thrilled about the growth and expansion of the Avenir Museum made possible by generous donors, as well as the hiring of Doreen Beard as director, which allows us to take great strides forward with regard to the academic programs, outreach, and research in the Department of Design and Merchandising,” said Jeff McCubbin, dean of the College of Health and Human Sciences.

Beard, the new director of operations and engagement, will oversee the project; Avenir curator Susan J. Torntore co-chaired the design and planning process for the expansion.

Beard joined the Avenir Museum in January from Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Wash., where she served as assistant to the dean for the School of Arts and Communication. Beard has significant university administrative experience, as well as museum experience. As assistant to the dean, Beard helped form the first Collections Management Policy for Pacific Lutheran University’s permanent art collection. She also worked with the office of development on fundraising and grant writing for the School.

Previously, she served as the curator for the Fort Nisqually Living History Museum in Tacoma, Wash., responsible for the 5,000-plus artifacts in the permanent collection. Beard is a CSU graduate with majors in history and German, and she earned her MBA from Pacific Lutheran.

“Doreen brings a unique combination of skills and experience to this position, including all aspects of collections management, fundraising, planning, and museum and administrative operations, making her uniquely qualified to lead further expansion and growth of the Avenir Museum. We are excited to have her join us,” said Nancy Miller, head of the Department of Design and Merchandising.

The Avenir Museum has enjoyed tremendous growth over the past decade, moving from a collection of textiles and clothing housed in the Gifford Building, to its current gallery space in the UCA, accompanied by improved storage and classroom space in the UCA complex. Thanks to the Avenir Museum, design, history and textile students and scholars have access to more than 18,000 catalogued clothing, textiles and interior furnishing artifacts.

The Avenir Museum is one of the few university collections with an added emphasis on international objects, including a collection of 500 kimono and more than 8,000 textiles and garments from cultures around the world. Western artifacts include 19th and 20th century garments, textiles, accessories and interior furnishings, elaborate fans and hats, beaded flapper dresses, shoes, handmade lace and famous designer apparel. The museum represents a series of collections representing ethnographic, geographic and socioeconomic diversity.

Among the jewels of the collection are designer dresses from the late Mr. Blackwell, Arnold Scaasi, Carolina Herrera, James Galanos and Calvin Klein. It is also home to the internationally renowned Hellmann lace collection, which includes rare examples of 17th and 18th century handmade lace.

The Avenir Museum of Design and Merchandising is a part of the Department of Design and Merchandising in the College of Health and Human Sciences. For more information on the Avenir Museum, see