University of Pennsylvania Museum's Groundbreaking
for the Mainwaring Wing for Collections Storage and Study
For University of Pennsylvania Museum archaeologists, breaking ground
usually means the start of a new excavation begun with high hopes and the
sweet anticipation of discovery--often far, far from home. On Friday, April
14, at 10 a.m., breaking ground will take on a whole new meaning, as the
University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology hosts
a ceremonial groundbreaking for its new, state-of-the-art Mainwaring Wing
for collections storage and study, right in the Museum's own front yard--the
Sharpe Circle off of South Street just east of 33rd and Spruce Streets,
where the four-story, 35,000 square foot building wing will be built.
The event, free and open to the public, celebrates a critical Museum
fundraising goal achieved--$17 million--as it looks to the future with a
new facility aimed to protect priceless artifacts and improve scholarly
collections access. The University community, Museum volunteers and staff,
Philadelphia school children, donors, cultural community members and the
general public are all invited to share in the milestone event. The Women's
Sekere Ensemble--a local group that performs frequently at Museum events--offers
music to inspire, and refreshments will be served following the formal presentation.
Project construction for the Mainwaring Wing will begin in May 2000,
and construction is expected to be completed in 18 months. The wing is named
in honor of Trustee Emeritus and former Museum Board of Overseers Chairman
A. Bruce Mainwaring, C '47, and his wife, Margaret Redfield Mainwaring,
'Ed '47, H '85, Trustee Emeritus and Former Vice Chair of the Trustees.
Both are strong Museum advocates and supporters.
President Judith Rodin is co-host of the groundbreaking event with Dr.
Jeremy Sabloff, the Museum's Williams Director. Hailing the new wing as
an important component in the University's Agenda
for Excellence, Dr. Rodin noted, "With the Mainwaring Wing
providing much needed collections storage and study space, the Museum will
continue its proud tradition of leadership into the 21st century, inspiring
future generations of scholars."
"As we break ground for the new Mainwaring Wing, we act upon our
obligation to preserve our priceless collections for today and for future
generations," noted Dr. Sabloff. "It is an obligation to the general
public, for whom the collections can offer inspiration and greater understanding
of our shared human experience; to researchers and other scholars, who look
to our collections to illuminate their understanding of culture and cultures;
and to people of diverse cultures, ancient and contemporary, that we seek
to learn more about."
Dr. Rodin and Dr. Sabloff will speak at the groundbreaking. They will
be joined by A. Bruce and Margaret R. Mainwaring; Provost Robert Barchi;
Mr. James Riepe, Chairman, Board of Trustees; Mr. John Hover, Chairman of
the Museum's Board of Overseers; and Virginia Ebert, a graduate student
in the anthropology department.
Forty-five thousand area school children and their teachers visit the
Museum and its rich international collections each year, while many thousands
more are visited by Museum "mobile guides." Students from the
Lea School in West Philadelphia will be special guests at the groundbreaking;
immediately following the formal event, they will meet with a Museum archaeologist
and try their own hands at "breaking ground" the archaeologists'
way, with a trowel in an (sandbox) "excavation site."
The Museum draws upon the support and commitment of more than 300 dedicated
volunteers who work in virtually every aspect of Museum research, education,
programming and collections management; an all-volunteer thank you luncheon
follows the groundbreaking ceremony.
Friday's ceremonial groundbreaking is the first event in a weekend-long
celebration. On Saturday evening, the all-volunteer Women's Committee hosts
a gala event and fundraiser, "The Eyes Have It." On Sunday, the
Museum opens 44 Celebrity Eyes in a Museum Storeroom, a special exhibition
that shows off the rich and diverse collections through selections by 22
international "celebrities," from cellist Yo-Yo Ma, to actor Kevin
Bacon, to fashion designer Mary McFadden.
After more than 110 years of research and collections development, the
Museum has reached the limit of its ability to maintain its internationally
renowned collections--one million archaeological and anthropological artifacts
from around the world--under present conditions in often overcrowded basement
storage rooms that lack necessary climate control.
The goal of the new Mainwaring Wing, designed by the Philadelphia firm
of Atkin, Olshin, Lawson-Bell and Associates Architects, is two-fold: to
protect Museum objects from environmental factors by equipping the building
with a state-of-the-art climate control system, and to make the objects
easily accessible for study or conservation.
The Mainwaring Wing will attach to the small north facade of the 1969
wing and project out to South Street, occupying the last available site
of the Museum's original, 1895 master plan developed by architect Wilson
Eyre, Jr. By following existing axial relationships, matching existing eave
heights, and using the same materials found in the older wing, the addition
will complete the courtyard. After construction is complete, Atkin, Olshin,
Lawson-Bell and Associates Architects, together with Olin Partnership Landscape
Architects, will rehabilitate the lower courtyard, recreating a park-like
garden space, to be named the Stoner Courtyard Garden, after donors Tom
and Kitty Stoner of Maryland.
Because of the special use of the new wing, the addition will have two
different facades. The storage rooms, arranged along the east side of the
building, must be windowless to maintain rigorous light, temperature, and
humidity controls. On this side of the building, the concrete frame structure
will be clad in a limestone grid and filled in with a system of bronze panels.
The facade facing the courtyard encloses the offices, seminar rooms, and
circulation spaces, and will have groupings of windows in a masonry wall
which will relate to the materials on the existing facade.
Trammell Crow Company will provide facilities-management services for
the project. The construction manager will be Turner Construction Company.
The Museum Expansion Committee, responsible for strategic planning and
fundraising, is chaired by A. Bruce Mainwaring. The committee includes:
Dr. Andrea M. Baldeck, Dr. Robert H. Dyson, Cornelia Fraley, Melissa Clark
Freeman, Mary Bert Gutman, Susan Helen Horsey, Josephine Hueber, Bill Klaus,
Missy McQuiston, Ruth Radbill Scott, Sara Senior, Dr. David Silverman, Diana
T. Vagelos, and Dr. Charles K. Williams, II.
In addition to solid financial support from more than 460 individuals,
the Museum received major national and local foundation and government support
for the new wing. The National Endowment for the Humanities; The Pew Charitable
Trusts; the William Penn Foundation; the Hollis Family Foundation; The Kresge
Foundation; The Arcadia Foundation; the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter
Foundation; the TKF Foundation; and the 1984 Foundation, among others, have
all contributed to the success of the new wing's campaign.