Officials at the Smithsonian are looking for the ideal location for two of its future museums.
The Smithsonian Board of Regents decided on Wednesday that the National Museum of the American Latino and the Smithsonian American Women’s History Museum will concentrate on four locations in Washington, D.C. Congress granted the museums its approval in December 2020.
The four sites under consideration are:
- Arts and Industries Building — 900 Jefferson Dr. S.W., a Smithsonian building on the National Mall next to the Castle
- Northwest Capitol site — undeveloped land located north of the Capitol Reflecting Pool, under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Capitol
- South Monument site — undeveloped land across the National Mall from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, on Jefferson Drive S.W., under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service
- Tidal Basin site — undeveloped land bordered by Raoul Wallenberg Place S.W. and Maine Avenue S.W., under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service
The Smithsonian and the Baltimore engineering/architecture company Ayers Saint Gross will each be further reviewed, according to officials, between now and the end of the year. By the end of 2022, the Board of Regents will decide on the locations in full.
The evaluation of each site uses the following criteria:
- Location — the symbolism of the National Mall is important to supporters of both museums
- Existing site conditions — sufficient capacity for a building, views and vistas, security considerations, existing landscape features, opportunity for architectural expression; this includes its compatibility with relevant federal and local Washington, D.C., plans
- Transportation — accessible to cars, pedestrians, bicyclists; overall traffic volume; access to public transit
- Environmental factors — subsurface conditions, hazardous materials, flood risk, noise levels
- Costs — demolition of an existing building if necessary or rehabilitation of existing building; construction of a new building; costs associated with opening
- Acquisition potential — challenges and opportunities in acquiring the site