From the National Cathedral to the Watergate Hotel, here are the cultural institutions you should keep your eye on for the next few years. Each one is either currently undergoing or planned to undergo major renovations that will affect residents' and tourists' experience of the city.Read More
10 D.C. Cultural Institutions Undergoing or Soon to Undergo Major Renovations
Washington National Cathedral
Ever since the 5.8-magnitude earthquake on August 23, 2011, the National Cathedral has undergone renovations. This happening, the largest East Coast temblor in nearly 115 years, caused $34 million worth of damage. The first phase of restorations completed in June 2015. The second phase is set to begin soon. Don't expect the repairs to complete any time soon. They are expected to finish in at least 10 more years.
With help from philanthropist David Rubenstein's $18.5 million donation, the Lincoln Memorial will undergo a four-year renovation. This renovation is likely the biggest overhaul for the structure since it was dedicated. Expect the exhibit space expanded along with the bathrooms and bookstore. The area underneath the chamber that supports the statue is expected to increase from 750 square feet to 15,000 square feet.
Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library
This national landmark is going to undergo a total makeover with additions like maker's spaces, a new children's library, renovated reading rooms, and a new event hall. The landscaping outside of the building will be totally redone with a new cafe added. The renovation is expected to cost over $200 million. The funds won't be released until 2019 and 2020.
Also featured in:
Phyllis Wheatley YWCA
The historic Phyllis Wheatley Young Women's Christian Association, Inc. (Phyllis Wheatley YWCA) building is currently undergoing a $17 million renovation that will preserve 84 permanent, supportive, and affordable housing units for low-income women. This structure was built in 1920 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is named after Phillis Wheatley, who is cited as the first black woman professional poet and writer in the United States by Henry Louis Gates's publication, Trials of Phillis Wheatley: America's Second Black Poet and Her Encounters with the Founding Fathers.
National Air and Space Museum
This Smithsonian museum is expected to undergo a nine-year, $410 million comprehensive overhaul. Throughout the project, the museum will remain open, though sections will be closed. The renovations are expected to begin in 2018. What needs to be repaired in the building includes the main roof, HVAC system, and marble facade. The glass curtain wall also allows in too much UV radiation, so it will need to be replaced with triple glazed, thermally broken panels with an aluminum frame and internal steel reinforcement for blast resistance. 1,300 solar panels will also be installed across the roof.
The Watergate Hotel
This year, the renovations on the Watergate Hotel are expected to complete. Some of the changes to expect include the addition of a 7,000-square-foot grand ballroom, a 1,800-square-foot junior ballroom, and a 350-person rooftop lounge. Four terraces have also been added. Originally, the hotel housed 251 rooms, but the number is expected to grow to 340.
Arts and Industries Building
After over 10 years of being closed, the Arts and Industries Building is expected to open some time this year. The 134-year-old building underwent a $55 million renovation that replaced the roof and rehabilitated the structure. This July, while the building is expected to remain closed to the public, the gift shop will open during the Folklife Festival.
Maine Avenue Fish Market
The nation's oldest open-air market is going to get a brand new look. With a completion hoped for in fewer than two years, developer Hoffman-Madison Waterfront will make a few renovations to the area. These renovations include altering the historic oyster shed so that it's instead an oyster bar, adding a distillery building, constructing a market shed and pavilion, and also creating a wine bar.
Between the World War II Memorial and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Constitution Gardens is undergoing the first phase of renovations. Eventually, the green space will house a 160-foot-long pavilion and a glass-walled restaurant. The Lockkeeper's House will be relocated and rehabilitated. There will also be a new entry plaza at the corner of Constitution Avenue NW and 17th Street NW as well as a perimeter garden wall.
National Museum of Natural History
The dinosaur hall is closed and will continue to be closed until 2019. While there is an exhibit on dinosaurs available to the public at this museum, all of the fossils and bones are in storage. Once completed, the 31,000-square-foot hall will feature one of the most complete Tyrannosaurus rex skeletons ever unearthed.