In the 1980s, during the restoration of the National Building Museum’s historic home, a number of original building elements were recovered and now form the core of the Museum’s Pension Building Collection. Highlights from the Museum’s collection include a beam signed by the building’s architect and designer, Montgomery C. Meigs; original tiles and baseboards from the Great Hall; plaster molds used to create the acanthus leaves on the Museum’s infamous Corinthian Columns; and one of the radiators installed to heat the building in the early 20th century. Smaller artifacts found speak to the building’s past as a pension office and later as an office building used by the local judicial courts. Ink bottles, personal artifacts, and even lost pension records were found under the floors and behind walls. Finally, artifacts and mementos from some of the many Inaugural Balls held at the Museum highlight the building’s continued purpose as one of the largest and grandest event spaces in Washington, D.C.
The Pension Building collection is in storage and not on view. Please check current exhibitions for a list of what is publicly accessible.