Museum of the White Mountains
Plymouth, New Hampshire
With the long-term vision of creating a Museum dedicated to the art of the White Mountains, Plymouth State University purchased a former Methodist Church located at the edge of campus. Barba + Wheelock designed a Master Plan that, due to budgetary constraints, will be implemented in phases. B + W’s solution carefully balances display spaces for the public with support spaces necessary for collections management while also making the building fully accessible. The Museum will be a showcase for the campus as well as the communities of Plymouth State University and the White Mountains beyond. The project is being designed to meet LEED Silver standards.
The first phase was completed in February 2013 and includes minimal site work, offices, the main gallery space and specialty furnishings for collection storage. The majority of the work in this phase involved converting the 1946 church into a state-of-the-art museum. To this end, the building’s envelope and systems required a significant amount of attention in order to create a secure and stable, temperature-controlled environment in which to store and display works of art ranging from 19th-century paintings to 20th-century postcards and fabrics. Retrofit options were evaluated using whole-building energy modeling software. Envelope performance and durability were also considered and modeled.
B + W chose to retain the existing altar area and turn it into a Dynamic Gallery space adjacent to the Main Gallery (formerly the worship space). In Phase 1 collection storage shall be accommodated in the lower level while the Master Plan envisions a long-term solution in which a complementary addition to the back of the building will house collection storage as well as administrative offices. The former Parish Hall will be an auditorium for campus-wide use with a separate access for after-hours. Other functions of the building include a multi-purpose room, kitchenette, administrative offices, collection preparation rooms, and new elevator/loading dock addition. Parking, lighting, storm water runoff, and amenities are carefully incorporated into the site. The main accessible entry ramp employs a unique composite surface to allow it to appear naturalistic, reminiscent of White Mountain hiking trails.
Special Features: First museum to celebrate the heritage of the White Mountains. Adaptive use of a former church on the Plymouth State College.