Next summer, visitors at the National Museum of American History will get a never- before-seen view of the National Mall.
As part of a $37 million renovation, the museum has carved a 100-foot-wide window out of what used to be solid concrete and stone.
“One of the real treasures of this project is we are introducing this view of the Washington Monument, the new African American History Museum and the Calder sculpture,” says Jeffrey Hirsch of EwingCole, the architecture firm behind the project. “It’s really going to transform how people are going to see this space.”
The sculpture Hirsch mentions is a 35-ton modernist masterpiece by Alexander Calder. Named “Gwenfritz,” after arts patron Gwendolyn Cafritz, it was one of the first publicly funded D.C. sculptures to buck the guy-on-a-horse motif when installed in 1969.
In 1983, museum officials moved the sculpture to make room for a bandstand. Now, “Gwenfritz” is back where Calder wanted it, though you’ll have to peek through construction fences to see it, or wait until July 4, when the first floor of the museum’s west wing reopens.