National Building Museum to Temporarily Close for Great Hall Repairs

Categories: Articles, Press

Construction is scheduled December 2 to March 2020

Historic Pension Building, c. 1918.

WASHINGTON, D.C. On December 2, 2019 the National Building Museum will close to the public to begin necessary repairs in its historic Great Hall. The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) will oversee the extensive project to replace the current concrete floor with a modern foundation, ensuring the long-term preservation of the Museum’s historic home. The Museum will reopen in spring 2020.

“It was a difficult decision for the Museum to close its doors, even for a short period,” says Chase W. Rynd, executive director of the National Building Museum. “But the scope and scale of this project required us to do so. This is a necessary investment in our historic building’s infrastructure and we look forward to welcoming visitors back this spring.”

Chartered by an Act of Congress in 1980, the National Building Museum will celebrate its 40th anniversary in 2020. Its historic home, however, is much older, first opening its doors in 1885 as the United States Pension Building. Upon opening as a Museum its mandate included preserving one of the few Italian Renaissance Revival buildings of its day.

“GSA is proud of our stewardship role in maintaining this historic treasure,” says Darren Blue, GSA NCR Regional Commissioner. “While the building offices remain open during this period, we appreciate the National Building Museum’s partnership in supporting our repair and maintenance efforts.”

Upon completion this spring, the Museum will re-open with a full slate of fresh and innovative programs. Visitors will discover a new Visitor Center, designed to illuminate the Museum’s mission and guide their experience. With a new classroom on the ground floor, and new exhibitions on the second, the space will also become easier to navigate. Alan Karchmer: The Architects’ Photographer will open with the building, and the Architecture & Design Film Festival: D.C. will take place March 26-29. Two evocative and timely exhibitions will follow soon thereafter: Architecture is Never Neutral: The Work of MASS Design Group, including a prototype of their National Gun Violence Memorial, and The Wall/El Muro: What is a Border Wall?, examining the border wall from the perspective of architecture and design.

For more information about the construction.

Please direct construction questions to Renee Kelly, GSA, at 202 710-5267.

Please direct press questions to Rosemary Grant at

About the National Building Museum

The National Building Museum is America’s leading cultural institution dedicated to advancing the quality of the built environment by educating people about its impact on their lives. Through its exhibitions, educational programs, web content, and publications, the Museum has become a vital forum for the exchange of ideas and information about the world we build for ourselves. Public inquiries: (202) 272-2448 or visit Connect with us on Twitter and Facebook.