When the Getty Villa first opened to visitors in 1974, founder J. Paul Getty explained to the Los Angeles Times why he had chosen to base the Museum’s design on the Villa dei Papiri, a Roman villa that had been buried in the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 A.D.:
It is fortunate that the United States has one ancient, private building which is authentic in spirit …. One could say ‘go to Pompeii and Herculaneum and see Roman villas the way they are now—then go to Malibu and see the way they were in ancient times.’
What Getty hoped to give visitors was an intimate and insightful experience with the ancient world. That continues to be our goal today, and it is why we have decided to spend 2017 changing how the Getty Villa presents our antiquities collection.
The current approach to the display of our collection is based on theme, and groups artworks within galleries according to subjects such as mythological heroes, or women in antiquity. The new presentation will take a stronger narrative approach, tracing the chronology of the development of art in the Etruscan, Greek, and Roman cultures from the Bronze Age through the Late Roman Empire (roughly, 3,000 B.C. to A.D. 600).
From January 2017 to spring 2018, visitors to the Getty Villa will experience a museum in transition.
What does this mean? Well, some things are staying the same:
- The Villa is still open every day of the week except Tuesday,
- admission is still free,
- regular tours and programs will continue, and
- you still need to book an advance ticket. (See our main website for details.)
Some things will be different:
- various galleries will be temporarily closed so work can proceed,
- beginning in the spring, the Outer Peristyle pool will be off view as it undergoes repairs, and
- special programming will be provided to enhance your visit during the spring and summer months.
When the Villa fully reopens in the spring of 2018, you’ll see a number of improvements:
- more gallery space,
- a classical world in context gallery featuring long-term loans of important objects from non-European cultures that will help give better context to the Getty’s collection of mostly European antiquities,
- objects that have not been on recent view,
- galleries dedicated to the legacy of J. Paul Getty and the history of the Villa dei Papiri,
- a new, larger Family Forum space, and
- improved Wi-Fi in the galleries.
The new display will also give visitors a different perspective on the art of antiquity.
Just like artists today, the artists of the ancient world were responding to what had come before, as well as to interactions with other cultures and societies. Ideally, a historical display will facilitate the ability to follow this conversation and understand why a portrait at one time is rendered in a certain style—while at a later time, shows a vastly different style. Those differences shed light on how culture, history, and technology changed over time.
The chronological display will also help show why art historians and curators deem some works “masterpieces.” For example, when you look at the Getty Bronze next to other Hellenistic sculptures, it is visibly evident what an outstanding object it is.
Last but not least, the new displays will support better cross-cultural comparisons of artwork from the ancient world. J. Paul Getty’s personal interests shaped our collections. In terms of antiquities, he favored collecting Greek and Roman art. But the story of art history is global and can be enriched by looking at relationships within and across cultures. In the case of classical art, the relationships among cultures outside Greece and Rome, such as those of Anatolia, Egypt, and Persia, are an important part of the story of the ancient world.
What would it have been like to live in Pompeii in the 1st century A.D.? The newly designed galleries at the Getty Villa will, as J. Paul Getty himself hoped, transport the minds of visitors to a specific time and place in the past, and start conversations in the present.
Questions? Comments? Please share them below, and I’ll get you an answer as quickly as possible. And for more details, including maps that show gallery closures as they are planned, see our visitor guide.
Can you tell me what galleries will be closed in January 2017? I’ll be visiting on Jan. 13th.
Hi Gina – Great to hear you’re planning a visit to the Villa. Currently, the galleries that are closed are on the second floor of the museum, directly above the main entrance. You can see a map of the closures at http://www/visit/villa/plan/villa2018.html, as well as download a full map and guide to the Villa to help you plan your visit.
I clicked on the link, but it doesn’t appear to work. I think it should be: http://www.getty.edu/visit/villa/plan/villa2018.html
Hi Jacquelyn, Yes, you have the correct link. What I sent you is actually the same page, but has an internal abbreviation at the front of the link. My mistake; my apologies for the error.
Thank you for the advance notice. I recently visited The Getty in December, but did not visit the Villa due to weather. As I am in LA a couple of times a year, thought I would visit the Vlilla in the spring/summer. Will now put off the visit until the full reopening. Hopefully the opening will be on schedule, unlike the years it took for the L’Orangerie in Paris.
It’s great to hear about the changes to come to the Villa over the next year. The Getty Villa is one of my favorite museums to visit regularly. Having seen the incredible museums in Athens, Rome & Florence, I love that we have both the Villa & Getty Center easily accessible right here in Los Angeles offering us many amazing pieces of art & genres to appreciate. Looking forward to the additions to come!
Why is the original ranch house not available for public viewing?
Thanks, William, for your question. The Ranch House that J. Paul Getty once lived in on the Getty Villa property is not open for public viewing because it was converted to house staff and scholar offices, conferences rooms, a research library, and conservation labs.
Do you have handicap access through out the museum
Hi Patti, We do. The Getty Center and Getty Villa are ADA accessible. More information on Getty Villa accessibility features can be found here. —Annelisa / Iris editor
I am coming with the MSGC Garden club in two weeks
Will the Pompeii exhibition be open?
I hope so !
I am a professor at Biola University planning a trip to the Villa on May 13. I understand that they upper floor and galleries are currently closed for renovation. Will they still be closed in May? Thanks for letting me know. It would be a big help to know in advance what my students will be able to see.
Sounds great! Looking forward to seeing the changes.
Will the hall of the gods be retained?
Do you have your end of July schedule of closures available today?
We’re planning a trip with two teen granddaughters at the end of July.
Thank you. Bill
Hello, We are going to be visiting during the second week of July. Are the galleries on the 2nd floor still closed, and what else is closed at this time?
I had the privelidge of visiting the Museum in 1994 whilst on a visit from England to see my brother in
It is great to see on line that the museum is still continuing and expanding for future generations to enjoy.
I have visitors coming from back east the first week of October and will visit the Villa. What is closed? Are the fountains on? I don’t want to disappoint them. Thx
I’ve visited the Villa the first time in 1992-3 and then again few years ago: my compliment to architect and art historian that give us the opportunity to see a so great museum!
An old friend of mine – now died – was knowing mr. Paul Getty and he gave me some good memory of him….. I’ll try to write in a book…..
Have a great success!
I am coming to Ca at the New Year 2018 to see the Getty VIlla and Gerry Museum, again, as I just love the buildings, your art, the atmosphere …. I know you honor the parking fee at both places so you only have to pay once that day. The Getty Villa is closed Tuesdays (January 2 2018) and the Getty Museum is closed MOndays (January 1 2018). I am on a road trip. I was hoping to see both institutions on the same day, though this coming year 2018 they are not both open on my days in this area. Are you planning anything to allow people entry to the Villa and Museum by honoring the parking fee paid from either so you do not have to pay twice, on 1/1/18, or 1/2/18? Or conversely would you work with the Museum so people (so I) could get in with a parking honor carryover to the next day, whichever I am able to see first? Or are you possibly, wonderfully, going to perhaps plan for a parking fee carryover for the upcoming year 2018 New Year’s holiday? Please let me know and THANK YOU!
Thanks, Maria, for your message—glad to hear you’re planning return visits to the Getty Center and Villa! I got in touch with Visitor Services about your questions and was told that the “Pay Once, Park Twice” discount is actually only available from Wednesdays through Sundays. They also asked me to let you know that the holidays is one of the busiest times of the year at both of our locations, so if you’re planning a visit for January 1 or 2, please make sure to reserve your tickets for the Getty Villa well in advance of your visit, and to arrive early (9:30am) at the Getty Center as there are no parking reservations and the parking structure will almost certainly fill up. Let us know if you have any more questions, or call (310) 440-7300.
Does the GETTY VILLA have a sketching gallery
Hi Beverli – No, the Getty Villa does not have a dedicated sketching gallery, but there are occasional sketching programs. Please see the Getty360 calendar for upcoming courses at the Getty Villa: http://www.getty.edu/visit/cal/courses.html
Hi, I was planning to bring my 12 year old son there on November 19 as he’s a huge fan of Greek and Roman art, but i don’t want him to be disappointed if the art on display is limited because of the renovations/gallery closures. It looks like a great deal of the Villa is currently closed, does that mean much of the art and antiquities that I’ve seen there previously are not going to be on display? Or has everything been moved to different galleries?
Hello Charlene – My apologies for missing your question prior to your visit on November 19. I hope you and your son still visited and were able to see the works of art on display on the second floor of the Villa. For future reference, the current map of gallery closures is published in an image and pdf on our website. If you have questions about whether specific works of art are on display, please contact Visitor Services at email@example.com or (310) 440-7300.
If we visit in late February 2018 what galleries etc. will be closed? thanks.
Hi Christine – The schedule of gallery closures is adjusted as work progresses, so we can’t provide you with exact information on closures in late February 2018 at this time. Most likely the majority of the galleries will be open except for the special exhibition and two additional galleries on the first floor, but if you message us again in late January or early February (or contact Visitor Services at (310) 440-7300 or firstname.lastname@example.org) we should be able to give you more precise information.
Please clarify which galleries and areas will be closed during the period February 15-March 5, 2018? Thank you for your assistance!
Hi Steve – The schedule of gallery closures is adjusted as work progresses, so we can’t provide you with exact information on closures between February 15–March 5, 2018 at this time. Most likely the majority of the galleries will be open except for the special exhibition and two additional galleries on the first floor, but if you message us again in late January or early February (or contact Visitor Services at (310) 440-7300 or email@example.com) we should be able to give you more precise information.
Traveling in, I think Cypress, I saw Museum with a collection of coins by frequency over different time periods and which they were found. Basically they showed where ancient trade was coming from. It was absolutely fascinating and Roman trade went as far as China. Similar studies must have been done in Pompeii, I recommend reproducing them in this Museum. What were the coins in circulation at what periods of time?
I was planning to visit the Getty Villa in February and was wondering if the Outer Peristyle pool will be closed by then?
Can you tell me if construction has already started or if I visit February 2018 will this be before the construction starts?
Hi Teresa – The Outer Peristyle at the Getty Villa is currently fenced off as it undergoes maintenance. We don’t have a date for its reopening yet, but expect the maintenance will be completed in the next few months.
Above. . . from ” the iris” … “What would it have been like to live in Pompeii in the 1st century A.D.? The newly designed galleries at the Getty Villa will, as J. Paul Getty himself hoped, transport the minds of visitors to a specific time and place in the past, and start conversations in the present.”
JUST LAST FALL, I submitted a manuscript RECOUNTING EXACTLY THAT (“My Pompeii” ) to Kimberly Wilkinson, Editor in Chief, Getty Center. She graciously reviewed it and determined it did not fit the “list” of the Getty Trust and suggested other publishers. “My Pompeii” is a short read, by design–with professional photographs — (mine) — and provides students, visitors to “Pompei Scavi”, Getty Villa, and armchair travelers who will never walk those streets a compelling, modern-day experience layered over the reality of the experience — mine, and of the folks, just like us who perished in Pompeii. Does the Getty Villa publish independently from the Center, and may I send you my manuscript.
Hi Connie, thanks for writing. The Getty Center and Getty Villa are both part of the J. Paul Getty Trust, and we only have one publishing arm—Getty Publications—so I’m afraid there is not another unit to submit your manuscript here.
Sorry to hear that Amelia, but thanks so much for the follow-up.
All the best,
Thank you for the post! As it is now early 2018, can you update on what has been done already, what is still to be done, and if there’s an updated estimate on completion? I was hoping to visit January 29 but will put off my visit for a couple months if everything will be open soon.
Hi Kate – My apologies for not replying to your question prior to January 29. The reinstallation of the collections in galleries on the second floor has been completed; all of those galleries are open for public viewing. All but two of the galleries on the first floor are also open to the public, including the redesigned gallery for families. The Outer Peristyle pool is still undergoing maintenance, so it’s fenced off and the walkway on the south side of the Peristyle is still closed to visitors. The Villa reinstallation will be completed soon and all galleries will be open for public viewing on April 18. I hope you’ll be able to visit then.
I have just moved to Vancouver and was hoping to visit California specifically to visit the Roman Villa in Malibu. I was saddened to learn that it is closed and when reopened will be reimagined. As s former classics major who collected ancient coins I was in awe of Mr Getty. I hope that his foresight will be retained. At what point in 2018 can I come to visit the villa gardens and courtyard ? I love Seleucid art but doubt that the Romans gave it much time. However Egyptian art should be front and centre. Please do not forget coins as they were certainly the art that the populace handled on a daily basis and those in power knew it and responded accordingly. We give it short shift when in fact it should be front and centre. Given the things that Mr Getty collected in his lifetime which aligned with my own values I worry that things are becoming diffused to become more politically correct but may not in reflect the values of the ancient nor renaissance worlds.
Hi Michael – The Villa is currently open to visitors. As is noted in this post, the reinstallation of the antiquities collection aligns with J. Paul Getty’s aims for the Villa. The project is nearing completion, so the majority of galleries in the museum are open. You can see a current map of galleries that are closed on our webpage about the Villa reinstallation. All galleries will be open on April 18, 2018. Ancient coins from the collection are currently on display on the second floor of the museum. You will be pleased to know that in conjunction with the complete reopening of the Villa, the exhibition Beyond the Nile: Egypt and the Classical World will open at the Getty Center on March 27. Here is the description of the exhibition: “Egypt, the most ancient of the Mediterranean civilizations, held a great fascination for the Greeks and Romans. This major international loan exhibition explores the artistic interplay between these cultures from the Bronze Age to Roman times (2000 BC–AD 300). The installation includes royal Egyptian stone vessels sent to Minoan Crete and Mycenaean Greece, Archaic Greek pottery and sculpture inspired by Egyptian models, superb portraits in Egyptian and Greek style created during Greek rule in Egypt, and remarkable religious images and luxury goods in made for Roman patrons in Italy.”
Ms Wong. Thank you very much for your reply and the wonderful news. I am looking forward to visiting The Villa in the near future.
What is the date of completion for renovations?
My son is taking an art history class in college. One of the requirements is to visit the Getty Villa to view Greek, Etruscan, and Roman artwork. I wanted to confirm that a variety of the artwork from these different cultures is currently on display and open to the public. We plan to visit on Feb. 16. Thank you.
Hi Cynthia, thanks for getting in touch. You’re in luck: the Etruscan Gallery (110)—on the first floor—has just reopened so you and your son will be able to see Greek, Etruscan, and Roman art on display when you visit the Villa. Please ask Visitor Services representatives on site for information about the specific location of artwork as well as pick up the most current map. I hope you enjoy your visit.
Hi, I was planning on taking my maternity pics in the beautiful gardens! Is that allowed ?
Hi Maria – Thanks for getting in touch about this. Very glad to hear you enjoy the gardens at the Villa—and congratulations on your pregnancy!—but our photography and video policy states professional photography is not allowed at the Getty Villa or Getty Center.
I am planning a trip there in late March. Can you tell me when the museum will be fully reopened?
Hi Javier: All galleries, along with the special exhibition spaces, fully reopen to the public on April 18, 2018.
I still have not made it over there to see the new look. Maybe after all this rain stops.