Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum, Hyde Park, N.Y.


The Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library's first upgrade since its 1939 construction included several elements not usually encountered on such projects.

The two-phase, $23.6-million gut renovation required an exceptional level of care for such procedures as dust control to safeguard the more than 15,000 historical artifacts—including FDR's 1936 Ford Phaeton—that remained on site throughout the renovation.

The car, for example, was sealed in a lined crate for protection, which allowed it to be moved to different locations throughout the progression of the renovation. A temperature and humidity sensor inside the crate, visible through a small window, allowed team members to take and record measurements three times a day, ensuring that the levels remained within set standards for the car's preservation.

Keeping the library's mechanical, electrical, plumbing and sprinkler systems fully operational during construction was also crucial for archival preservation. The process, which is fairly standard on other jobs, was compounded by the fact that the building and its systems had not been updated in 75 years.

Phase 1 included heavy sitework and upper-level renovation. Phase 2 involved the bulk of the renovation of the main and lower levels where most of the archival materials and exhibits were housed. It entailed restoring the historic exterior, repointing the stone, working on new bluestone walkways, replicating wood windows and adding a new glass entryway and vestibules. Phase 2 also added to exhibition space.

Challenges included fully renovating the north wing of the building where the temporary exhibits were housed before starting construction in the main building. This was done to avoid disrupting visitors, but it involved a complex phased plan including separate egress from both the exhibit and work zones.

The project also called for coordination with two federal agencies to ensure goals were met and that the visitor experience remained uninterrupted during the job.

Key Players

Owner U.S. National Archives and Records Administration

Construction Management Kirchhoff-Consigli Construction Management

Lead Design Firm EYP Architecture & Engineering