Modernization and Expansion Project
In 1929 Mayor James Walker laid the Museum’s cornerstone and launched the construction of the Museum of the City of New York’s landmark Colonial Revival building, which was made possible by gifts from a broad swath of New Yorkers. The next step took 77 years to make, but on August 2, 2006, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg broke ground for the Museum’s first Modernization and Expansion Project, a three-phase, $90-million effort to secure the Museum’s future.
The Museum’s Fifth Avenue building had been left largely unaltered since its completion in 1932, leaving the institution out of step with evolving standards in museum practice and increasingly unable to meet the needs of its constituencies. In light of its responsibility as a steward of the city’s rich cultural heritage, the Museum engaged the highly regarded firm Polshek Partnership Architects — now known as Ennead Architects — for a bold, three-phase endeavor to modernize and upgrade our entire facility for the first time in the institution’s history. The construction was planned in phases to allow the Museum to remain open for the duration of the project, which will be completed in 2015.
The Modernization and Expansion Project is a public-private partnership. To date, the City of New York, the Museum’s Board of Trustees, and many generous donors have contributed more than $70 million to the Modernization and Expansion Project. The Museum welcomes the participation of the community in this extraordinary effort. A variety of naming opportunities are available to recognize donor generosity.
Completed in August 2008, Phase I introduced 23,000 square feet of new space, including:
- The soaring new James G. Dinan and Elizabeth R. Miller Gallery for special exhibitions
- A restored and updated lobby with enhanced visitor amenities
- A renovation and restoration of the Fifth Avenue Terrace to improve visitor access
- A crucially necessary climate-controlled Curatorial Center to preserve Museum collections
Phases II and III
Phases II and III are designed to address the interior infrastructure of the Museum’s building and completely rehabilitate the outdated physical plant to meet current and future exhibition, programmatic, and administrative needs. Phase II, which began construction in May 2009 and will be finished in fall 2011, includes:
- The modernization of the South Wing’s three galleries and construction of new office space on the fourth and fifth floors
- A new climate-control system as well as new lighting, flooring, and windows throughout
- The expansion and renovation of the Frederick A.O. Schwarz Children’s Center, resulting in three technologically enhanced classrooms
- The Tiffany & Co. Foundation Gallery for the display of stellar objects from the decorative arts collection
- A permanent, cutting-edge digital laboratory that will increase access to the Museum’s rich collections through the online Collections Portal
- A redesigned and relocated Museum Shop, restoration of historic elements of the Museum’s magnificent Colonial Revival building, including façade elements, the Marble Court, and Library/Conference Room
Phase III, underway from 2012 to 2013, will complete the building’s modernization by renovating the North Wing, creating three continuous floors of gallery space, a state-of-the-art auditorium, and a new Café.
When the Modernization and Expansion Project is complete in 2013, the Museum will boast modern, climate-controlled galleries and public and administrative spaces that vastly improve our ability to serve a burgeoning visitorship. The renovation will bring the Museum into full compliance with all city building codes and will meet regulations established by the American Association of Museums and the Americans with Disabilities Act. The renovated spaces will also be energy efficient, qualifying for LEED Silver certification, the national benchmark for high-performance green buildings. (For more information on LEED, visit the U.S. Green Building Council.)
The success of the Modernization and Expansion Project will ensure that the city's extraordinary heritage is available to inspire, entertain, and educate future generations. Help us build a Museum for the 21st century by making an online gift to our Modernization and Expansion Project.
For more information, a list of available naming opportunities, or to make a gift, please contact Susan Madden, Senior Vice President for External Affairs, at 212-534-1672, x3303, or firstname.lastname@example.org.