PAFA Museum to Undergo Historic Restoration This Summer

The Historic Landmark Building will remain open throughout the summer-long project.

The Historic Landmark Building at PAFA | Photo: GPTMC

The Historic Landmark Building at PAFA | Photo: GPTMC

If you happen to see scaffolding going up around the hallowed Historic Landmark Building at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, don’t fret. It’s all part of a summer-long restoration project to the building designed by Frank Furness and George Hewitt in the late-1800s.

Juxtaposed with the gigantic glass and metal Pennsylvania Convention Center across Broad Street, the Victorian Gothic museum building is still a wonder to this very day. It will see a handful of skillful–and gentle–repairs, including the restoration of the slate and glass roof as well as its stone and brick exterior, according to a recent press release from PAFA. Scaffolding installation begins May 18 and should take seven to 10 days to complete. The cost of the project is “about $1.5 million,” says PAFA’s Heike Rass. Here’s more:

For the rest of the summer, work will include stone cleaning, mortar repair, new slate on the center roof, new gutter work, resetting and sealing skylights, and installation of heat tracers in the building’s rain gutters to prevent formation of icicles on the edge of the facade.

PAFA says a covered walkway will “extend along the front of the building for museum visitors and pedestrians.”

The structure at 118 North Broad Street dates back to 1876, but the school and museum go way back to 1805–giving it the distinction as the first art museum and school of fine arts in the country. Philly–we’re such show-offs when it comes to historical stuff. Take a peek at some of the original drawings from Furness and Hewitt, which include a longetudinal cross section that shows off the Grand Stairhall.