National Building Museum to Close for Repairs

Washington D.C’s National Building Museum announced that it will close on December 2 to begin vital repairs to the museum’s infrastructure.

Currently, the museum rests on a thin foundation that was laid in the 1880s, when the building was built as the United States Pension Building. During the closure, the building’s deteriorating concrete foundation will be replaced with a modern foundation. In a press release about the project, executive director Chase W. Rynd said, “It was a difficult decision for the Museum to close its doors, even for a short period, 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.”

Congress chartered the National Building Museum in 1980. As a part of this charter, the museum was tasked with preserving the United States Pension Building, one of the few Italian Renaissance Revival buildings constructed at that time. The federal government commissioned the building in response to the explosion of pension claims after the Civil War. In the late nineteenth century, some presidents also host inaugural balls in the Pension Building.

The National Building Museum plans to reopen in March 2020. The re-opened museum will feature a new visitors center, an additional classroom, and new exhibits.