Center Core Renovation (2006-2008)

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The Museum reopened to the public on November 21, 2008 after extensive renovations to the central public spaces and infrastructure. The transformation focused on three main areas:

The architectural firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM) of New York and Turner Construction was responsible for the overall design and construction. New York-based design firm Chermayeff & Geismar Inc. worked with SOM on the new permanent gallery for the Star-Spangled Banner.

The renovation dramatically transformed the Museum and created new ways to present the objects of our nation's past.  New and improved features include:

  • a central atrium with a skylight that dramatically opens the building
  • a grand staircase connecting the Museum’s first and second floors
  • 10-foot-high artifact walls on both the first and second floors showcasing the breadth of the Museum’s 3 million objects
  • a welcome center on the second floor to improve visitor orientation
  • a new exhibition gallery for the Museum’s Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation
  • a new lobby for the 275-seat Carmichael Auditorium, and
  • new retail operations.

Other work included: replacing and relocating public and staff elevators; creating several new restrooms, including four family restrooms; replacing heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems; upgrading fire and alarm systems; improving electrical systems; and improving security.

Further Information   

Reopening Report

The Museum reopened after a nearly two-year renovation in November 2008. View this special interactive report recapping the reopening ceremonies and reopening year programs and exhibitions.

Why did you have to close the Museum during the renovation? Read the FAQs for the answer to this and other questions.