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The Sursock Museum has been officially out of action for eight years, a long time by any measure.Once inside, however, there is a mixture of the old and new – wooden panels and white walls, cosy rooms and wide-open spaces.On the first floor is the office of Nicolas Sursock, the previous owner of the building who gifted the structure to Beirut municipality to be used as a museum upon his death in 1951 . Emulating the exhibition hall's white-cube aspect, the museum's second floor is being prepared to receive the rest of museum's permanent collection – mainly paintings and sculptures by Lebanese artists from the '50s, '60s and '70s.The "facilities" installed in four floors dug beneath the house include a fully equipped 170-seat auditorium, a library, a cavernous temporary exhibition hall with skylights, temperature-controlled high-security storage spaces, a training center and a restoration atelier.In this part of the building, the walls are bleached white and the hum of technology is audible. While the old house offered around 2,000 square meters of floor space, Aboukhaled said the new museum boasts around 8,500 square meters.
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