Campus Revitalization

Since the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden opened in 1974, its collection and programs have grown and evolved, establishing the Hirshhorn as one of the most visited modern art museums in the country. The campus is currently undergoing transformative improvements: repairs have been made to the Museum building’s roof and envelope and the revitalization of the Sculpture Garden is underway. The Smithsonian Institution and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden are starting design on a new project that will renovate the Hirshhorn Museum and plaza to support its current and future needs.

These projects enable the Hirshhorn to fulfill its mission as a national museum and its expanded programming and collections, as well as enhance visitor experience and address critical infrastructure needs.

Museum & Plaza Revitalization

Design work will consider ways to upgrade infrastructure, accessibility and security, and expand and improve amenities, operational and programming space to enhance the visitor experience and to meet the needs of projected significant increases in visitation. This revitalization will ensure the highest standards in collection stewardship and museum operations. This revitalization of the Hirshhorn Museum and plaza will ensure the highest standards in collection stewardship and museum operations. 

The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden is a contributing resource to the National Mall Historic District listed in the National Register of Historic Places, and this project is subject to Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act.

The Smithsonian Institution will conduct a series of public meetings as design progresses concerning Section 106 consultation. The Smithsonian’s Architectural History and Historic Preservation office houses assets including: meeting information, registration and documents; project overview; reference documents.

Elevated view of the Hirshhorn Museum

The southern exterior of the Hirshhorn Museum and plaza from Independence Avenue in 2023. 

Sculpture Garden

The revitalization of the Hirshhorn’s Sculpture Garden on the National Mall was introduced in spring 2019 and following the public consultation process, received approval in late 2022. A groundbreaking signaling the start of the transformative project was attended by first lady Dr. Jill Biden, Secretary Lonnie G. Bunch III, artists such as Hiroshi Sugimoto and Laurie Anderson, Jeff Koons, Liz Larner, Tony Oursler, Adam Pendleton and Ami Yamasaki, members of the Smithsonian and Hirshhorn boards on Nov. 16, 2022. In early 2023, the Hirshhorn’s Sculpture Garden closed for revitalization. Many of the sculptures including masterworks by Lucio Fontana, Barbara Hepworth, Henry Moore, Sterling Ruby and Auguste Rodin have been temporarily installed on the Hirshhorn plaza.  

Renderings of the new design of the Hirshhorn’s Sculpture Garden that reconnect the outdoor galleries on the National Mall to the Museum’s plaza.


The Smithsonian Institution and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden created a unique design approach for the rehabilitation of the concrete drum and aggregate concrete precast panels. The project addressed deficiencies in the original construction which resulted in installation defects, panel distress and poor energy performance.  Construction on the envelope repair began in the fall of 2020, and was undertaken while the Museum was operational. A monumental scrim designed by contemporary Swiss artist Nicolas Party wrapped the repairs to the mid-century building, integrating the museum’s mission into the construction effort. The repairs have been completed successfully.