Construction Update

Site preparation work continues on the McGraw Quad. Note the pipes in the foreground that are the well heads for the geothermal heating and cooling system.
Site preparation work continues on the McGraw Quad. Note the pipes in the foreground that are some of the 20 well heads for the new geothermal heating and cooling system.

Contractors have completed demolition work on the north end of the grounds and now the focus of the McGraw Gallery Quadrangle project is final site preparation and the installation of new infrastructure in advance of construction.

A key accomplishment in May was the drilling of 20 465-foot deep wells for a geothermal heating and cooling system that will support the environment conditions inside the new Thompson Exhibition Building.

Contractors are also working on installation of new electrical, telecom, and water infrastructure. The last includes an extensive storm water containment and filtration system to process runoff before it reaches the Mystic River.

Plans call for the Thompson Building foundation to be poured in July and the public spaces in the Quad should open in July with some limitations until the grass sod has taken root.

Although construction has closed the North Entrance, Latitude 41° Restaurant is open on its normal summer schedule and a new Center Entrance will open on June 20 next to the administration building at 75 Greenmanville Avenue. Members and visitors will be able to enter and conduct all transactions at that entrance. For safety reasons, everyone is reminded to use the traffic-light crosswalks to cross Greenmanville Ave.

New and Improved Exhibits

On June 20, “Voyaging in the Wake of the Whalers” will open on the first floor of the Stillman Building. This 4,400 square-foot exhibit is a fresh take on the history of American whaling and will combine Museum artifacts, artwork, audiovisual elements, and interactive displays to facilitate an understanding of the forces that initially drove the whaling industry, humankind’s changing perceptions of whales, and the latest research into whale-human interactions. The exhibit will also incorporate elements from the Charles W. Morgan‘s 38th Voyage last summer.

In addition, the Figureheads exhibit in the Wendell Building will reopen after a refurbishment that includes enhanced lighting and the Benjamin F. Packard Ship’s Cabin will reopen on the second floor of the Stillman Building. The Packard Cabin was relocated from the brick outbuilding that was one of the structures razed to make way for the McGraw Quad.

Improvements to the R.J. Schaefer Building have been completed in advance of the “Ships, Clocks & Stars” exhibit that will open on September 19. The award-winning exhibit is the epic story of humankind’s quest to solve the riddle of measuring longitude at sea. Produced by the National Maritime Museum in London, Mystic Seaport is one of just four museums worldwide to host this exhibit.

The McGraw Gallery Quadrangle is a major undertaking by Mystic Seaport to transform the north end of the Museum to greatly enhance the quality of exhibition space and offer a more robust year-round experience for visitors. The distinctive Quad will mesh existing buildings and grounds with the new Thompson Exhibition Building, a 14,000 square-foot structure that will house exemplary exhibition facilities, the latest technologies, and flexible spaces to engage with visitors and serve their diverse interests.

The project is scheduled for completion in fall 2016 with the opening of the Thompson Building.