Smithsonian Institution Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden

  • Collections Access and Storage
  • Washington, DC
  • 2009


As part of a larger Smithsonian – wide project, the Hirshhorn sought to open up the 4th floor of the museum for future public uses by consolidating collections to a central offsite facility. This project enabled over half the floor to be ‘cleared – out’ as well as other offsite collections to be moved to a single state of the art facility.



Working with collections managers, the collection of monumental contemporary art and sculpture were quantified while future growth was determined based on curatorial input and promises of collections.  The scale and weight of collections (including several of Gerhard Richter’s paintings of layered lead) required highly specialized conditions for safe art movement and art storage furniture to be designed as part of the facility.


The facility accommodated painting and sculpture in a range of materials within a series of compartments with different environmental conditions to improve both preservation and access.   The facility utilized overhead suspended screens to ensure access is smooth and adequate space was provided for mechanical assist in moving heavy monumental pieces.