The Mead Art Museum did not meet curatorial standards for climate control, fire protection, or security, putting its nationally recognized collection at risk and limiting borrowing opportunities from other collections. In addition, the facility lacked proper storage and curatorial spaces, and the galleries themselves needed an update.
Unfortunately, the 1950s building was poorly suited for a mechanical retrofit, and previous attempts to solve these problems had proved too costly to implement.
Scott Payette Architects developed a creative, feasible solution. By using air barriers and balancing positive and negative pressures inside and outside the building, the design team eliminated the need for a traditional vapor barrier. In addition, new storage rooms were designed to be independently controlled to meet varying criteria of individual collections.
The renovations and improvements to the galleries, curatorial offices, storage, and mechanical systems brought the museum into conformance with current standards. While architecturally modest, the renewed finishes and renovations significantly improved the galleries and the overall museum experience.