Mystic — Mystic Seaport has applied for permission to construct a state-of-the-art exhibition hall on the north end of the Museum grounds. The new building will greatly expand the institution’s capability to host large exhibits and will be the cornerstone for an improved year-round experience for the visitor.
The project includes a 14,000 square-foot building and one-third of an acre of new green space. The deliberately modern design of the building is intended to reflect the craft of wooden ship building, and the large, laminated beams aim to evoke the structure of a wooden ship with its parallel frames. Energy-efficient components and geothermal heating and cooling will be used.
“We are very excited about this project as it will enable us to present dynamic new exhibits that we currently cannot support,” said Mystic Seaport President Steve White. “The new exhibit hall and site plan will dramatically strengthen the Museum as a tourism destination and most importantly bolster our mission to create an enduring connection to America’s maritime heritage.”
The 5,000 square-foot exhibit hall will provide much-needed room for the Museum to display items from its vast collection and will also allow space for traveling exhibitions. Additionally, the new building will house an alternative entrance for visitors, a lobby, a retail shop, restrooms, and meeting and staff spaces.
The plan also calls for outdoor improvements to Anchor Circle to create a better-defined celebration space for Mystic Seaport and community events, and to create better access to the existing galleries. It will also open up views of the Mystic River from Route 27.
The new building will be located just south of Latitude 41° Restaurant and will require the removal of 30,000 square feet of existing building space, including the Museum’s G.W. Blunt White Building, the North Boat Shed, and the former boiler house that houses the Benjamin F. Packard ship’s cabin exhibit. The Packard exhibit will be disassembled for continued preservation and new display locations are being evaluated.
The project is being designed by Centerbrook Architects and Planners of Centerbrook, Conn., who recently renovated the Ocean House in Watch Hill, R.I., and Kent + Frost Landscape Architecture of Mystic, Conn. Construction will be managed by A/Z Corporation of North Stonington, Conn.
A public hearing on the site plan application is tentatively scheduled for October 21. The project is slated to begin in January 2015 and to be completed in mid-2016.