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Sunday, May 15 • 4:00pm - 4:30pm
(Collection Care) Spoiler alert! Planning around the pitfalls of construction projects

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Oftentimes the design of a new exhibition space is a moment of celebration within a museum. A new home for collection material on display promises enhanced visitor experience , opportunities for educational programs, the potential to reach a larger audience, and maybe (just maybe) a better environment for the cultural heritage itself. But the process of designing and then building brings with it a host of unexpected challenges that have the potential to direct the project away from institutional goals. These risks take several forms that affect collections care in multifaceted ways: Content Museum construction projects must balance the needs of visitors, future flexibility and collection preservation; these goals are often in competition with one another. For example, who determines light levels in the gallery – the architect pursuing LEED points for daylighting, the exhibit designer trying to tell a story, the lighting engineer creating a certain mood in the space, or the collections care staff who are preserving cultural heritage? How does the project accommodate the participation of multiple groups of stakeholders? Schedule Renovating or building a gallery space often accompanies the development of exhibits and conservation work, activities that extend far beyond the design and construction of the built space. How does a museum manage the entire process with overlapping projects and contracts that impact each other? How much time is needed by each party involved and what happens when the schedule begins to drift? What happens when expectations and requirements of the space change during the process? Budget Funding for cultural venues continues to decline, requiring museums to adapt to tighter budgets and nontraditional methods of updating facilities. Once a project is underway, cost management becomes complex. When cost control becomes a crisis, how do shifting funds affect critical project components? How does the museum make the best decisions for the overall project when the solution involves cutting corners that could jeopardize its collecting mission? Opportunity When the dust settles, how does the museum ensure that the project has met its goals of exhibiting and educating the public while preserving its collection? We suggest that project planning cast a wide net, both to bring an inclusive team to the table from the onset and to anticipate organizational and content-related problems early. • Identify problems in their entirety • Assign the right people to their solutions • Invite their ongoing participation This presentation draws from our experience as architects and engineers to outline the unexpected pitfalls in capital projects and show how they affect collection care. Understanding the context and complexity of problem solving allows museum professionals to ask better questions of project participants, find allies within their institutions and help manage the project’s content towards institutional goals. We will demonstrate how several tools, including simulation software, modeling techniques and mock-up installations, can help bridge gaps in expertise and build consensus that takes into account multiple concerns. We will also discuss strategies for untangling schedules and budgets with an eye towards the unexpected issues that arise during construction.

avatar for Jeffrey Hirsch

Jeffrey Hirsch

Architect/Engineer, EwingCole
Jeffrey Hirsch, AIA, LEED AP With over 25 years of experience as an architect, Jeff Hirsch serves as the Director of EwingCole’s Cultural practice. He oversees the design and development of all work and leads the planning of projects that involve large numbers of stakeholders and... Read More →
avatar for Angela Matchica

Angela Matchica

Principal, Engineer, EwingCole
Angela Matchica, PE, LC, LEED AP Angela is a lighting designer and electrical engineer who incorporates her knowledge of emerging lighting technologies and integrated system design with her creativity and unique expression for a cohesive lighting display. She has applied these visions... Read More →

Sunday May 15, 2016 4:00pm - 4:30pm EDT
Room 516 AB