On October 4, 2010, the Penn Museum officially announced the start of construction on the first phase of an exciting renovation project: a major renovation of the West Wing of its original 1899 building. On the agenda: refurbished galleries, including climate control (that means air conditioning!), and the creation of a ceramic petrography teaching laboratory. Subsequent phases, to commence as soon as funding allows, will include a state-of-the-art suite of conservation, research, and teaching laboratories, and restoration of the unique, historic, Widener Lecture Hall. It’s a top to bottom enterprise (from our third floor west wing galleries to our basement laboratories and study rooms) that will ultimately enrich the public, and the scholarly/teaching, aspects of the Museum!
It’s also an ambitious project, with second floor gallery renovations facing a challenging deadline: the opening of the landmark new exhibition from China, Secrets of the Silk Road (February 5 – June 5, 2011).
Fortunately, the team to make it happen is up for the challenges ahead—and we thought it would be fun to watch them at work! We’ve asked Brian Barger, Project Superintendent, Hunter Roberts Construction Group, to keep us informed about what is going on, right here on the blog.
The West Wing Renovation Project is designed by Samuel Anderson Architects of New York City, noted for their work in museums and libraries with a specialty in conservation labs, with mechanical design by McClure Engineering of St. Louis, MO; structural engineering by Severud Associates of New York City; lighting design by Jeffrey Nash Lighting Design of New York City; and project management by the University of Pennsylvania’s Facilities and Real Estate Services.
A special round of applause for the generous folks who are helping to make this project possible: thank you for leadership financial support to A. Bruce and Margaret Mainwaring and Dr. Charles K. Williams, II, and for generous additional support to Barbara and Michael J. Kowalski, the Frederick J. Manning family, Diane von Schlegell Levy and Robert M. Levy, and the 1956 Otto Haas Charitable Trust.
For more details on the project, check out the press release.