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Our Renovation and Expansion Update Blog

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June 28, 2013

When Sparks Are Flying

The construction crew is getting more comfortable with our photographer making his twice-daily passes through the building, and one way to tell is when they give a heads-up for when sparks will be flying. Shown above is a chop saw cutting metal studs in what will be our newly redesigned Ancient Worlds gallery. Shown below, it's going to be a really high ceiling in our Modern and Contemporary Art gallery, so a few metal struts had to go. Click any image to enlarge.

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June 28, 2013

It's Great to Watch When Things Start Rolling

On projects of this scale, things move in fits and starts—and then just start to roll. Such was the case this week with the crew installing the limestone cladding. Row upon row of custom-cut limestone steadily went in place, and as the crew neared the roofline, the pieces were rigged up, lifted by crane, and carefully placed into position (even when the final precise fit would take a tap of a mallet).

Elsewhere around the building, the new elevator shaft project has now reached the third floor, a powerful dado saw was unfurled Thursday for a chopping project upstairs, and when it comes to running new cable, one way to do it is to connect the new to the old and then pull the old from the walls. And, of course, we're always interested when sparks are flying.

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June 27, 2013

There's a Reason These Guys are in Museums all Across the Country

This is a project where everyone's combined effort and exertion is easy to see, but we have to take a special moment today to acknowledge a specialty contractor. Explus is a company that specializes in museum display work nationwide, and their crew has consistently shown up with a plan, worked efficiently, and installed great big case frames with speed and skill. The work shown here is taking place in what will be our totally redesigned Ancient Worlds galleries. They've also been major players in our redesigned glass galleries.

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June 25, 2013

Guided by an Unseen Hand? Only the Shadow Knows

Shown above, spackling becomes shadowplay thanks to work lights in a dim gallery. It was just one of many active areas around the Museum on Tuesday. Inside, there was a jackhammer cutting out a concrete floor to accommodate a new set of pipes, and a lot of conversation about a test area for stained and polished concrete floors. Outside, on a hot and dusty day, the crew mortaring up our new Indiana limestone exterior continued to work their way through one giant jigsaw puzzle. "At least," said one worker, "our puzzle pieces have numbers."

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June 24, 2013

Chipping Away and Making Progress

Shown above, as the new elevator shaft rises to meet each next floor, the steel concrete reinforcements must be continuous. So channels of existing concrete are chipped away for new rebar and mortar and the tower continues its climb. Upstairs, fellows continue to work with huge air handlers. Outside, the limestone-cladding crew made real progress Monday, and inside, well, we just can't get enough pictures of sparks flying.

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June 21, 2013

A Friday Tip of the Hat to All Those Working So Hard

Work is in progress all over the building, and the highlights include work in our mechanical towers, shown above, and the installation of our new glass galleries (where laser levels come in handy). Inside, work progresses on blocking up the new elevator shaft and outside the limestone cladding is being applied with great care and precision. Before the masons can do their work, a hard-working fellow has to get the heavy pieces in place. We thank everyone involved for a good week's work, and while no construction project sticks perfectly to its timeline, we want you to know that we are planning—and fully expect—to reopen on schedule and on time in April 2014.

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June 19, 2013

As Construction Proceeds, a Glimpse Behind the Scenes

Shown above, as masons continue to build the new elevator shaft, on the outside there was progress to report on the installation of the limestone cladding. For an overall view of how our Modern Art gallery looks today, click here. For a similar look at the bustle in our glass galleries, click here.

June 13, 2013

Meanwhile, Behind The Scenes With The Art

Shown above is Gwen of our conservation team with her next task, a 1750s portrait of the man behind Madame de Pompadour. This is a story we'll be expanding upon in upcoming posts, and it follows her quietly acclaimed work in cleaning and restoring the exquisite 17th century Peter Paul Rubens painting The Archduchess Isabella Clara Eugenia. People who have loved this painting for years are now talking about details they have never seen.

Shown below is the newest addition to the conservation team, as Emily has been working on preserving various works on paper with the removal of old matting and the insertion of acid-free papers and such. She's all set up in a locked-down, backroom storage area, and just as we were commiserating about her lonesome workspace, she had a simple answer. "I have a Tiffany lamp in my office." Click any image to enlarge.

June 12, 2013

A Good Day for Pictures

On a day when our general contractor had a photographer and film crew documenting the project, there was plenty to see.

All week old HVAC equipment has been removed via crane from the roof, so today new stuff started flying in. There was also work on weatherproofing two new new roofs, shown at right and also shown here. The busiest part of the beehive was the new glass gallery, where Explus contractors were installing new case frames as fast as they arrived. Click any image to enlarge.

June 10, 2013

15 Minutes From Finishing, and Then Comes the Rain

Shown above the disheartening feeling of being close to finishing, only to have a cloudburst move you indoors. On a day when workers got encouragement from a young VIP visitor, most of the action was up top. Old HVAC equipment was hooked up to a crane and then flown to a dumpster. As soon as old equipment is out, it's time to wire up the new. Just off to the side of the rigging crew, masons were working to finish the top parapet on the north addition.

And as shown below, another load of case frames arrived from Explus for our new glass galleries. Tad, shown at left, had to custom design the low-rider dollies needed to wheel the units into place. Without those special dollies and their three-quarter inch ground clearance, the cases wouldn't clear the doors.


June 7, 2013

All Friday Updates Should Include a Tip of the Hat and a Thank You to the Crew

From specialized tools used in construction to machines sawed out after a lifetime of loyal service—simultaneous construction and destruction was the story Friday. The headline would be that our air-handler overhaul is of a scale and scope that's hard to comprehend. If a John McClane, Die Hard type was crawling in our ducts, he'd get hopelessly lost and the bad guys would win.

Couple stories down, in what will be the new glass galleries, one way to measure the complexity of this project is to just look up. Click any image to enlarge on a day we had another special visitor find out we're closed, and thanks to all who worked so hard for us this week.


June 6, 2013

Muscling Mortar Weighing About 135 Pounds Per Cubic Foot

Shown above is the arduous task of keeping masons supplied with mortar for their concrete blocks. Shown below is the roofing crew applying a weatherproof membrane. Adding a sense of urgency to their work Thursday was the forecast of a weekend tropical storm.

Behind the scenes in the art-handling world, our Prep Team has been readying the vitrines for our upcoming Selden Arcade exhibition The Allure of Ancient Egypt. Construction-wise, there's a palpable sense that activity levels will soon explode, as more and more galleries are filling up with pre-positioned materials.

June 3, 2013

A New Elevator Shaft Rises

A great moment Monday as the concrete blocks of the new elevator shaft started working their way skyward. It was a speedy and efficient crew, aided as always by men outside working with really cool saws.

Elsewhere, a temporary air conditioner is now humming away on the roof so an old inefficient unit can be ripped out. As shown above, the art is waiting patiently. We're in a project where, during demolition, we've found doors to nowhere and even a fireplace. Today we uncovered an old ticket window.

Earlier entries:

May 2013

April 2013

March 2013

February 2013

January 2013

October/December 2012

August/September 2012

June/July 2012