Preview of The Morgan Library & Museum Restoration

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

By: Elaine Silber, Co-Chair P&D Committee

Preview of The Morgan Library & Museum Restoration

In mid-September, The Morgan Library & Museum invited officers of the Murray Hill Neighborhood Association to preview plans for the next phase of the ongoing exterior restoration of J. Pierpont Morgan’s Library before they were made public. Susan Demmet and I, Chairs of the Preservation & Design Committee, were delighted to attend and were very pleased with the plans. It is a testimonial to the building’s solid construction that this is the first major restoration of the Library in its 112-year old history. This beautiful landmark building designed by McKim, Meade & White and completed in 1906 was one of the firm’s finest works.

Much of the exterior restoration is almost complete, including roof replacement, cleaning of the marble exterior, masonry repairs, and sculpture and fence restoration.

The next phase involves site improvements to the 36th Street side, with restoration of the gardens and improved lighting as major parts of the project. Award winning landscape designer, Todd Longstaffe-Gowan plans to integrate several antiquities into the gardens including sculptures and a Roman sarcophagus, that until now were in The Morgan’s storage and inaccessible to the public. Colorful plantings will also be incorporated, and for the first time, there will be access paths to the Library Building. Using new technologies, lighting designer Linnaea Tillett has developed a lighting scheme that will greatly improve the exterior lighting, giving the building a much more inviting presence. There will also be better signage around the entire library and museum. Every detail of this restoration has been planned with the utmost care and thought.

Fall 2020 is the anticipated completion date. The plans are spectacular, and we believe that this restoration will enhance not only the magnificent Library Building and its grounds, but the entire neighborhood as well.

Rendering: Detail of Sketch by Landscape Designer Todd Longstaff-Gowan, provided by The Morgan Library & Museum.