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Our Renovation/Construction Update Blog


Sept. 28, 2012

An Illustration of the Care Involved

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How do you store a tapestry that's 450 years old? Very carefully. After The History of Hannibal: The Spoils of Cannae was taken down from the wall, the wool and silk tapestry attributed to Flemish artist Francois Geubels was carefully vacuumed through a protective screen. It was then encased in cloth and rolled up for sealed-up protection. The conservation team on the job was Mark, far right below, and Gwen, far left. The prep team, from left to right, was Richard, Gustavo and Anita. Photos by Ed Pollard.

BONUS FEATURE: To see the full tapestry, click here. To see it on display in this Museum back in 1959, click here.

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Sept. 26, 2012

Gallery Status Update

Here's a gallery status update as major work progresses outside and some minor work is going on inside. We're in a phase of shuffling things around to keep our most popular works on view.

• Some of our contemporary glass collection has come out of storage and is now on display in a gallery right off Huber Court. On the other side of the court, our Natural Beauty of Tiffany exhibition is on view.

• Upstairs, we've closed two galleries of our Old Masters paintings. Those galleries will reopen in coming weeks with two interesting exhibitions, one by Pinaree Sanpitak, one by Charlotte Potter.

• It's your last week to see our Impressionist Gallery, but that note comes with two asterisks. The first is that three of the four walls are currently full; art on the outside wall nearest the demoliton has already been moved to safekeeping. The second is that many of these popular works will be reappearing in our first floor Small Changing Gallery as of Oct. 17. We're calling that exhibition Upstairs/Downstairs.

• And if you're watching work on the outside, consider this: As of today, contractors have poured 342 cubic yards of concrete grout into the bored holes of the pilings.


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Sept. 21, 2012

Typical Sunrise on the Hague: Bikers, Joggers, Dog-Walkers, and a Giant Construction Crane Going By

The best thing that can be reported on any construction project can be boiled down to two words—on schedule.

Thanks to (relatively) good weather, the pilings were finished on the south side of the building (Memorial Garden) on Thursday. That afternoon, the 55-foot auger bit was taken off the crane, to cut down on the traveling weight, and the whole rig got a thorough scrub-down before hitting the highway.

At sunrise Friday, it was time to move the drilling rig to the other side of the building.

As the massive machine was walked around the block, workers laid plywood down to protect the city streets. Major style points to our contractor, KBS, for paying attention to such details. Leave no mud on the streets. Leave no pavement damage.

Come Monday morning, the drilling of the pilings will resume on the north side of the building (Mary's Garden). It's a process of boring out 55 feet of dirt, mud and silt, the insertion of steel reinforcing bars, and then filling with concrete. Early reports on the strength of the pilings is that they are well above the design standards.

Also of note:

• Space is a little tighter on the north side of the Museum, so the sidewalk will be closed temporarily as the construction fences are expanded slightly outward to make room for the (technical name) Auger Pile machine. With 43 pilings on the schedule, the work will take seven to 10 days, depending on the weather.

• On the south side, the concrete contractor will begin bringing in equipment in preparation of forming/installing pile caps and grade beams for the actual addition.


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Sept. 13, 2012

With Demolition Complete, Work on the Pilings Can Begin

Below, a view of what used to be Mary's Garden. Note the orange fence protecting the root system of the oak tree.

At right, on the other side of the building, work has begun on the pilings. It's a process of using a giant bit to drill a 55-foot hole, and then the filling of that hole with concrete and rebar. (If you have a 12-year-old at home, they'll giggle at the name of the concrete pump maker.) We'll work on getting proper clearances to get close-up pictures of the piling process next week, as our general contractor takes safety very, very seriously. Most of the pictures seen here were taken from outside the fence while no one is working, as we're staying out of the way.

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Sept. 7, 2012

The Front Sidewalk is Ripped Up and Carted Away

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A lot of emphasis in recent weeks on demolishing the porches and gardens. Now, with construction ready to begin on the pilings and footer support for the new additions, it's time to remove the front sidewalk in the areas behind the construction fences. Truth be told, the Bobcat made short work of it. Click image to enlarge.

Sept. 5, 2012

Demolition is Now About 85 Percent Complete, and That Means Some Great Art Soon Will be Returning From Protective Storage.

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With luck, we'll be taking down some of these signs and rehanging some great works of art by early next week. So far the disruption has been kept primarily to the glass galleries and the insides of the outside walls where demolition is occurring. For a scene from the careful treatment of our glass collection, click here. We won't start closing entire galleries for a few more weeks, so come visit.

Aug. 24, 2012

Precautions As The Porches Come Down

Our general contractor, KBS, is a real stickler for job-site safety. You can see that while watching what's happening right outside our walls.

We've got our own safety thing going inside our walls. It's about the safety of the art.

As our two garden porches have been demolished to make room for our new additions, art normally hanging on the other side of those outside walls has been removed. What might be considered a no-big-deal vibration in a normal construction environment could be a very big deal with a centuries-old painting, and that's why in four galleries in particular, if you see a blank wall, well, now you know why.

On one wall alone the names of the artists whose works were moved for safekeeping include Manet, Pissarro and Cezanne.

That's some great art removed from view, but there's still plenty to see on a visit to the Chrysler. We've made protective changes in some glass and porcelain galleries, and the galleries near the construction, but the overwhelming majority of our 62 galleries remain intact and untouched for now.


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Aug. 21, 2012

Raze High The Roof Beam, Carpenters

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The cutting, rigging and hoisting away of the porch beams. Click the details to enlarge. Photos by Ed Pollard.

Aug. 17, 2012

A Banner Day

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Our first batch of decorations for the construction fences went up today, and as the young jogger said while going by—"Awesome!" Some of our most memorable images can now be seen both inside and out. This particular banner is from a George Bellows painting, Emma At The Piano.

Aug. 16, 2012

The Methodical Removal Of A Porch Roof

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This view from what used to be Mary's Garden shows the removal of the porch roof. On the Memorial Garden side, demolition continues, but the roof is still on. Since that's the side where we used to display all kinds of priceless glass art, we thought you might be interested in what it looks like behind the wall upon which they are currently working.

Aug. 7, 2012

What You Can't Get From The Pictures

As demolition intensifies, and the machinery churns up earth that has been a garden for decades, there's an interesting side effect.

It smells like a farm.

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Aug. 6, 2012

Demolition Gets Underway

Where these porches now stand, new galleries will be appearing in the coming months. And when those new wings are complete, porches that look remarkably like these will reappear.

By design, the overall look of our Museum will change very little. The new wings will extend out about 20 feet from the current exterior wall, and the porches and gardens will be rebuilt from there.

Inside, it's business as usual. In fact, we have two new exhibitions opening next week.

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Click images to enlarge. The pillars are being protectively encased because we're going to reuse them when we rebuild the porches.


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A sign of the times. Click image to enlarge.

Aug. 1, 2012

As We're Busy Behind the Scenes

Not a lot of visible change on the outside of our building recently, as we're doing things like moving natural gas lines before demolition can begin. When it comes to preparing a construction site, you'd be amazed at all the details,

On the inside, the biggest change you'll see are signs saying "Where did the glass go?" We've been packing up our Contemporary Glass galleries—and a lot of our Tiffany items—for safekeeping before demolition begins, but there's some good news there. What you could call a greatest-hits exhibition of our Tiffany collection will be opening on Aug. 18 in a new temporary gallery right off Huber Court.

We can also report our first batch of construction fence banners are now at the printers. We're going to turn dull construction fencing into outdoor works of art, and we expect the decorations to start going up within two weeks.

Earlier entries:

June/July 2012