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George Washington University Museum Approved by Zoning Commission
July 02, 2012
New museum will feature diverse collections.
The D.C. Zoning Commission voted 4-0-1 on June 25 for final approval to GW’s application to build the George Washington University Museum. This second vote follows the commission’s preliminary approval in May and serves as a final confirmation that the project may proceed as planned.
“This is a great milestone toward making the George Washington University Museum a reality, and I am pleased to have the opportunity to work with our partners to bring about this wonderful addition to our campus and the Foggy Bottom neighborhood,” said Senior Associate Vice President for Operations Alicia Knight.
The George Washington University Museum will be located on 21st and G Streets, incorporating both a new signature building facing 21st Street and the historic Woodhull House facing G Street to provide 35,000 square feet of new space. The museum will house gallery and exhibition spaces, including a double-height gallery, and will provide collection, education and museum research facilities. In addition, the building will accommodate a library, staff offices and collections handling areas.
Construction on the museum will begin later this year and is expected to be completed in early 2014.
The George Washington University Museum will house the university’s own collections; those of the Textile Museum, which entered into a partnership with the university last year; and the Albert H. Small Washingtoniana Collection, an unparalleled compilation of more than 600 maps, prints and other documents related to Washington, D.C.’s, history as the capital city.
The university will also construct a conservation and resource center at the Virginia Science and Technology Campus, to serve as a state-of-the art conservation and storage facility to facilitate long-term study and care of all of the collections.
Mr. Small, a third-generation Washingtonian, is co-founder and president of Southern Engineering Corporation, which has developed millions of square feet of office space, apartment communities and single-family homes in Washington. He donated his Washingtoniana collection to the university in February 2010, and was honored with the GW President’s Medal in June 2011.
The Textile Museum’s collection includes more than 19,000 objects, including carpets and rugs from Egypt, Spain and central Asia; a group of 17th-century Caucasian dragon carpets and fragments that is one of the world’s best outside of Turkey; an extensive collection of pre-Columbian Peruvian textiles, early Islamic textiles; and many other examples from China, Japan and Africa.
The university’s own collection of more than 3,900 items includes portraits and artworks relating to individuals and important chapters in GW's institutional history; selections of work by area and national artists, including150 Polaroid pictures taken by Andy Warhol; 20th-century graphic works representing various media, artists, trends, and locations; small study collections of pre-Columbian objects and African art; decorative arts and personal memorabilia related to the Ulysses S. Grant family; and selections of GW student art drawn from GW award programs and MFA degree projects.