By Gus Saltonstall
New-York Historical Society recently revealed plans for the museum’s nearly 80,000-square-foot expansion and renovation project on the Upper West Side.
“As construction begins on our new wing, we are fulfilling a vision set into motion in 1937 by the Trustees of New–York Historical Society, who had the foresight to purchase the lot adjacent to our building, knowing that our growing collections and evolving programs for scholars, students, educators, and the public would someday need room to expand,” said Dr. Louise Mirrer, New–York Historical’s president and CEO, in a news release.
“As we look ahead, our new wing will serve as a beacon for democracy education, a powerhouse of inclusive history, and a home for history enthusiasts of all backgrounds and perspectives,” she added.
The new wing will be created by architecture firm Robert A.M. Stern Architects and the incoming five-story structure will complete the institution’s complex on the Upper West Side. The designs were unanimously approved by the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission.
The addition and renovation will provide expanded space for educational programs, a new exhibition gallery, a courtyard, rooftop garden terraces with views of Central Park, and “much-needed storage to preserve and make available irreplaceable materials about American democracy.”
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The new wing will also provide the first-ever home for the American LGBTQ+ Museum.
Here are more of the highlights that will be included in the new wing.
- Located on the second floor, the Tang Academy for American Democracy will provide dedicated space for New–York Historical’s award-winning educational initiative, in which sixth graders spend four full days on-site at the Museum, participating in a program that addresses critical knowledge gaps in the learning of American history. The expansion will allow New–York Historical to increase the number of students served from 3,000 to 30,000 annually.
- The Dorothy Tapper Goldman Center for Teaching Democracy will be a crucial space where teachers can come together with scholars and museum professionals for in-depth explorations of history, political theory, and engaging pedagogy.
- A new exhibition hall, the Klingenstein Family Gallery will showcase monumental works of art.
- The Stuart and Jane Weitzman Shoe Museum will house the permanent exhibition Walk This Way: Footwear from the Stuart Weitzman Collection of Historic Shoes. The exhibition will serve as a gateway to the new wing, with a dramatic display of 150 pairs of historic shoes revealing the evolution of women’s footwear over two centuries in parallel with changes in women’s lives.
- A conservation studio for painting and paper will be a state-of-the-art facility to conserve and protect paintings and historically significant documents. The studio is designed to provide natural light, advanced ventilation, and workspace for New–York Historical’s leading in-house conservation team, consulting specialists, and conservators-in-training.
- New–York Historical’s Patricia D. Klingenstein Library holds more than 10 million items, including rare copies of our nation’s foundational documents. A renovated, state-of-the-art library stack storage tower will allow for the rehousing of a substantial part of the collections, now offsite, back to Central Park West.
Construction on the new wing is set to begin this month, according to the museum.
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