The impressive staircase at Baltimore's Walters Art Musuem.

photo by: Jeffrey Totaro

Preservation Magazine, Winter 2019

Work of Art: The Walters Art Museum's Hackerman House in Baltimore Is Reimagined

Starting in 2014, a maintenance project in The Walters Art Museum's Hackerman House quickly evolved into a comprehensive reimagining of the 1850 Baltimore mansion’s curation. A four-year, $10.4 million refurbishment focused on highlighting the house as an art piece that tells the story of the building’s previous inhabitants.

Moseley Architects and Lewis Contractors worked to stabilize the rear solarium, repair the roof, repoint chimneys, and update mechanical systems. A state-of-the-art mist fire suppression system was installed and museum interpretation technologies were embedded behind the walls. After impressive decorative plasterwork was discovered behind fabric panels in the neo-Gothic library, the museum’s conservation staff restored them.

Conservation work was also done on Baccarat-style chandeliers and the Tiffany stained-glass skylight that caps the show-stealing spiral staircase. A new lighting system keeps the skylight illuminated. The building reopened to the public in June of 2018, with objects highlighting the life of enslaved servant Sybby Grant, as well as exhibits on historic and contemporary ceramics.
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Rebecca Gale is an Editorial Intern at the National Trust. In her spare time, you can find her visiting local museums, photographing historic buildings, or playing guitar.

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