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Exterior image of the Smithsonian Institution Castle from 1850.

Preservation Periodical: Volume 3, Issue 1

The office of Architectural History and Historic Preservation (AHHP) was organized in 1986 to act as curator of the Smithsonian Institution's diverse campus of buildings. AHHP builds the heritage of Smithsonian buildings and the Castle Collection through preservation, research, and education.

This biannual newsletter provides opportunities to learn more about current historic preservation practice, collections management, Smithsonian historic resources, projects, and connection with AHHP staff. Click any tile below to read the corresponding article.

Upcoming Events and Project Spotlight

AHHP is engaged in Section 106 consultation in accordance with the National Historic Preservation Act on the below projects.  Please visit the AHHP webpage to learn more and for information on upcoming public consultation meetings.  Consider attending a public meeting to be part of consultation on current and future Smithsonian projects that have potential to affect historic properties, and ways to avoid adverse effects on historic properties where possible.    

Revitalization of the Historic Core (RoHC) – Revitalize Castle   

This project will rehabilitate the Smithsonian Institution Building (“Castle”), the Institution’s first building and symbolic heart.  Exterior restoration, exterior modifications, new mechanical systems, seismic protection, and below-grade support spaces are planned.  On March 29, 2023, a Programmatic Agreement was executed by the Smithsonian, District of Columbia State Historic Preservation Officer, National Capital Planning Commission, and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation.  The Agreement oversees the phased project which remains in Section 106 consultation through 2024.  

This project received final approval at the November 2023 Commission of Fine Arts meeting. Final review by the National Capital Planning Commission is anticipated in April 2024. Please visit the project webpage to learn more.

Construct Integrated Bezos Learning Center 

This project will design and construct an addition to the east end of the National Air and Space Museum (NASM) to house the Bezos Learning Center.  The Center will provide a world class center for education, a pan-Institutional resource overseen by the NASM.  The addition will house a restaurant accessible from the Museum’s main level, and on the east terrace a public Astronomy Park and permanent location for the Phoebe Waterman Haas Observatory. 

Section 106 consultation began in August 2023.  Please visit the project webpage to learn more about the development of the concept design.  Consulting Parties Meeting #3 is scheduled to occur in February 2024, focused on design development.  

Hirshhorn Revitalize Building and Plaza 

This project will renovate the Hirshhorn to support current and future needs of the artists of our time. Design work will consider ways to upgrade infrastructure, accessibility and security, and expand and improve amenities, operational and programming space to enhance the visitor experience and to meet the needs of projected significant increases in visitation.  

Section 106 consultation began in September 2023.  Please visit the project webpage to learn more about the project scope.  Consulting Parties Meeting #3 is scheduled to occur in April 2024 focused on the concept design.  This will also be a National Environmental Policy Act scoping meeting.  

Letters to the Editor

AHHP wants to hear from you!  Please submit comments or questions to  Published comments or questions will not include any private information.  All comments, questions, and suggestions for future newsletter topics are welcome.  AHHP is interested in engaging on topics including historic preservation best practice, preservation related discussion on Smithsonian projects, and preservation related topics outside the Smithsonian.  

Article Contributors

  • Carly Bond, Acting Associate Director, Architectural History & Historic Preservation
  • Lucas Harmon, Historic Preservation Specialist, Architectural History & Historic Preservation
  • Millie Latack, Historic Preservation Specialist, Architectural History & Historic Preservation
  • Sharon Park, Associate Director Emerita, Architectural History and Historical Preservation
  • Richard Stamm, Curator Emeritus, Architectural History & Historic Preservation
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