Designed by the architecture firm, Wood, Donn & Deming, the Classical Revival-style building was constructed originally as a temple for the Masons, an organization that did not allow women members.
NMWA purchased the historic 78,810 square-foot building located in downtown Washington, D.C., and began extensive renovations to open to the public on April 7, 1987.
November to December 2015
The museum hired renowned architectural firm Sandra Vicchio & Associates to conduct a preservation study of the building. Vicchio and her team presented an initial Facilities Preservation Plan to NMWA’s Board.
A record-breaking blizzard damaged the main building’s roof. Within days, Sandra Vicchio and a team of engineers and contractors secured the structure and began planning the restoration of the roof and cornice.
A revised facilities preservation plan was presented to NMWA’s Board.
The Board passed a motion to proceed with (1) a predesign phase to answer critical questions about the project; and (2) a feasibility study for a possible capital campaign.
March to May 2019
The Board formed a Capital Campaign Steering Committee, and leadership gift fundraising began.
August 9, 2021
Our building closed to the public, and we moved our collections and staff off-site.
Construction preparation began as the team protected special finishes, such as the marble and historic details in the Great Hall, while removing carpet, walls, ceilings, and other materials to work on the building’s infrastructure.
October to December 2021
Focus shifted to site security and exterior scaffolding work, giving access to the building’s historic cornice for inspection and restoration.
January to March 2022
The campaign surpassed $55 million in campaign contributions, and fixtures are removed in the Performance Hall to begin a full restoration of the space.
March 15 to September 26, 2022
MISS CHELOVE’s four-story mural, Reseeded: A Forest Floor Flow, was installed on the museum’s exterior. This is the first of the Lookout public art installation series during the building’s renovation.
April to August 2022
Construction milestones include work on the passenger elevators shafts for greater accessibility, wall framing, insulation, HVAC system equipment installation on the roof, and floor reinforcement.
September to December 2022
Construction continued on schedule with gallery wall construction, installation of the state-of-the-art collections storage, and exterior re-coating of the terra cotta cornice underway.
October 24, 2022, to April 30, 2023
The second public art installation of NMWA’s Lookout project, Katharina Cibulka’s SOLANGE #27, went on view on the façade of the museum’s building.
The Capital Campaign is 94% funded, crossing the $63 million mark.
October 21, 2023
The newly renovated building will reopen to the public on October 21, 2023 with a series of celebratory events for members, campaign donors, and the community.