Museum of Archeology and Anthropology Renovation

University of Pennsylvania – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Project Background

The Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology is reputed to be the largest university museum in the United States. The first phase of the museum was constructed in 1896, with subsequent phases in 1916 and 1926 covering over 300,000 square feet of floor area.

Project Deliverables

This project consisted of three phases within the 44,000-square foot three-story west wing located within the original construction area of the museum.

Phase 1 – West Wing 2nd and 3rd Floor Renovation
This phase established the mechanical infrastructure to ventilate and provide temperature and humidity control throughout the west wing in an efficient manner. The mechanical equipment was located in an underground utility vault installed under an earlier project. The key to this project was to provide conditioning to this historic building with minimal impact on the building structure and character. HVAC systems included a dedicated makeup air unit with energy recovery and humidification supplying ventilation air to dedicated variable volume single zone air handling systems. A heating hot water system was installed to replace the existing steam radiators and provide easier to control perimeter heating. Chilled water was piped to the new HVAC equipment off the campus loop through the utility vault.

Phase 2 – Widener Gallery
This phase renovated a 6,200-square foot high bay space into a lecture hall on the 2nd floor of the museum. HVAC equipment was added on the 1st floor along with restroom facilities. Special attention was devoted to the integration of the updated HVAC with the architectural features of the space while also addressing the acoustic and AV considerations associated with a lecture hall.

Phase 3 – 1st Floor Conservation Wing
The 3rd and final phase of the west wing renovation consisted of the renovation of the 1st floor Conservation area. Updated HVAC was provided that is consistent with the earlier renovation projects while also maintaining space pressure control between various conservation lab areas. A variable speed exhaust system was included with the system design to provide hood exhaust, snorkel exhaust, and general space exhaust. Innovative measures were taken to integrate this into the structure without impacting the exterior look of the building.

Architect Of Record

Samuel Anderson Architects

Construction Cost




Market Sector

Cultural Facilities, College & University

Year Completed




Our Services
McClure Mechanical services
McClure Electrical services
McClure Plumbing services
McClure Fire Safety services
McClure Acoustics services
McClure Audio Visual services

Keith Cooper, P.E.