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Our Renovation/Construction Update Blog


Dec. 30, 2012

Scenes From The Last Day

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Among those spending one last afternoon in the Ricau Gallery was Crawford Alexander Mann III, at right, the Chrysler's Brock Curator of American Art.

Sunday, Dec. 30, 2012 was our last day to be open before closing the doors for renovations, and we have to thank the hundreds of people who turned out to spend one last afternoon enjoying our Museum. Click any image to enlarge.

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The last visitors to exit were John and Betty Boldin of Virginia Beach. They were celebrating their 41st wedding anniversary, and as Betty said to our Gallery Hosts: "It was a lovely day. I've fallen in love again."

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Dec. 24, 2012

Behind The Scenes, a Combination of Care and Craftsmanship

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The most visible part of our work so far has been the new additions out front that will allow us to expand our gallery space and put our cafe within reach of outdoor garden dining. But behind the scenes there's been a lot of work on our glass galleries. We are widely considered to have one of the country's Top 3 glass collections, and before we can show more of it, we had to totally gut the existing galleries. Of all our reinterpreted and redesigned galleries that will reopen in 2014, the most high-profile of all may be the glass.

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Another consideration, once the doors close, is the careful movement of the existing art. Take, for instance, the statue pictured at right. It's believed to be about 2,000 years old, and since it has been repaired in the past, we hired an outside geoarchaelogist to analyze its underlying strength and structure. We'll discuss this work in greater detail in upcoming posts, but in the meantime, it serves as a reminder that renovating a museum is not your typical moving-company job. Mistakes are not an option.

As always, click any image to enlarge.

Nov. 28, 2012

From Required Equipment to 13,000 Pounds of Scrap Iron

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The most visible part of our work so far has been the new additions that will allow us to expand our gallery space. Equally important is updating our HVAC equipment to increase our energy efficiency and reduce our costs. So how do you get an old chiller off the roof and replace it with 9,000 pounds of new energy-efficient equipment? With a very large crane.

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From left to right, the old chiller flies through the air and is dropped straight into to the scrap metal dumpster. The new equipment is then hitched up and hoisted to the roof. Click any image to enlarge. To see the hoist from the roof, click here.

Nov. 28, 2012

Pour The Floor

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A bird's eye view of the new floor for the new addition on the Memorial Garden side of the building. Photos by Tim Fink. Click any image to enlarge.

Nov. 14, 2012

With the Work Going On Today, A Significant Milestone Approaches

Once the foundation is in, we can start watching things go up instead of watching things come down. With the work going on today, that day is drawing closer.

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The concrete pump in action. Click to enlarge.


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Concrete pouring for the footers and grade beams. Click to enlarge.

Nov. 8, 2012

Behind the Scenes, a Hustle and Bustle of Careful Packing and Moving

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Photo by Ed Pollard. Click to enlarge.

The pace of work is picking back up outside, and inside, well, here are three statistics on what's going on behind the scenes:

• More than 18,000 objects have been packed and stored.

• We have used 6.25 miles of bubble wrap. That's not a typo. It really is 6.25 miles of bubble wrap coming off rolls.

• We have used 1,540 cubic feet of packing peanuts.

And we're not done yet.


Oct. 30, 2012

A Sandy Interruption

Plenty of high water but no damage to report from our brush with Hurricane Sandy.

Once things dry out, contractors will go back to building foundations for our new additions. Some interior demolition for our expanded glass galleries will begin soon, but with luck, you won't hear any banging during your visit.


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Cellphone photo from our roof by Terry Benson of our Facilities Team. You can see part of our construction at top left, and in the middle, that's the Anna Hyatt-Huntington sculpture The Torchbearers that graces our front entrance. The Hague Inlet is normally behind the concrete barrier (and floating booms) at right.

Oct. 17, 2012

Another Banner Day

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Shown here, Facilities Manager Timothy Fink involved in hanging our latest batch of construction-fence banners. You just won't find banners like these on most construction sites, that's for sure. Click the link or the image to see a larger view.

Oct. 9, 2012

An Update In A Single Word. Mud

The pilings got finished before the rains came, and it's a good thing concrete can set up even under water.

The best thing we can say about this muddy mess is another shout-out to our general contractor, KBS. That's because as they pulled out the giant drilling rig, they cleaned the sidewalk and the street and left no mess behind. If you had seen the mud caked on the treads of that giant Auger Pile machine, you'd know what a good thing this was.

After things dry out, the next step will involve plumbing the storm drains, and after that, concrete crews will be arriving to start on the piling caps and footers. It won't be as loud, and there won't be as many people on site, but work will still be progressing.

You should be able to see the footers being formed in a couple of weeks, weather permitting.


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The pilings are curing under the mud that used to be Mary's Garden. Click the image to enlarge.

Earlier entries:

August/September 2012

June/July 2012