The Smithsonian Institution’s search for sites to realize two long-awaited museums in Washington, D.C. – the National Museum of the American Latino and the Smithsonian American Women’s History Museum – has been narrowed down to four potential locations, down from the 14 locations that it had identified as ‘Tier 1’ sites in March of this year.
The four locations include the “Northwest Capitol Site”, an undeveloped land located north of the Capitol Reflecting Pool; the “South Monument Site”, an undeveloped parcel of land across the National Mall from the Smithsonian’s most recently completed museum, the National Museum of African American History and Culture; the “Tidal Basin Site”, another undeveloped land overseen by the National Park Service; and the Smithsonian’s Arts and Industries Building, which was used more recently to temporarily house the Technology Center Futures contracts exposure.
The search for suitable sites for the museums follows a decades-long campaign for their construction, which Congress approved in December 2020. The legislation requires the Smithsonian to select the final two locations by December 2022, a decision that will be review in collaboration with the Baltimore. architecture and engineering firm based in Ayers Saint Gross.
The site selection process itself was complicated primarily due to the prestige accorded to each museum’s proximity to the National Mall and the scarcity of acreage along the coveted two-mile promenade from the Lincoln Memorial to the US Capitol. United States.
“Selecting a site is one of the most important decisions for a museum,” Smithsonian Secretary Lonnie Bunch said in a statement. “It is important that the steps we take ensure a transparent, inclusive and thorough process.”
Both museums’ advisory boards base site criteria on the location’s prominence on the National Mall; proximity to the National Mall and other Smithsonian museums; preservation of main sight lines; significance to constituent groups; cost of site preparation; existing site conditions; acquisition potential; and the potential for ‘architectural expression’.
The museums will be realized with an equal distribution of funds provided by the federal government and private sources. Budget-related projections were not disclosed, but are expected to top the $540 million earmarked for the National Museum of African American History and Culture, another long-awaited institution that opened in 2016, more a decade after it was approved by Congress.