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Building Conservation Associates

National Museum of African American History and Culture

Location: Washington, D.C.
Original Architect: David Adjaye, Phil Freelon, Zena Howard, J. Max Bond Jr.
Year Built: 2016

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture opened to the public in September 2016 after years of construction and decades of planning. The lower floors contain the History Galleries, which chronologically present artifacts telling the story of African Americans’ experience in, and contributions to, the United States. Several of these artifacts are entire structures transported from around the country and reconstructed inside the museum.

BCA was involved in the assessment and conservation of three of these structures after their arrival on-site: the Edisto Island Slave Cabin, from Edisto Island, South Carolina; the Jones-Hall-Sims House, from Poolesville, Maryland; and the Angola Prison Guard Tower, from Angola, Louisiana. BCA cleaned all three structures and then created extensive photo-documentation of each for the permanent records of the Smithsonian Institution. BCA then performed a conditions survey of all three structures and developed a program of conservation treatments and a long-term maintenance plan for each.