The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Wrightsman Galleries


In 2004, the Metropolitan Museum of Art elected to revamp and modernize the technical infrastructure of its six period rooms within the Wrightsman Galleries for French Decorative Arts. In an effort to protect the valuable contents housed within these galleries, Kohler Ronan designed specialty systems to improve temperature and humidity control, effective lighting and dimming, and secure the space with state-of-the-art fire protection.

The challenge for our team was to hide all signs of engineering in order to be true to the time period highlighted in the galleries. Fireplaces serve to conceal HVAC and return air ductwork while a Very Early Detection Apparatus (VESDA) provides the most inconspicuous method of fire protection. Unique lighting design contributes in large part to the atmosphere present throughout the galleries. Via carefully selected chandeliers and sconces, our designs succeed in illuminating the darkened galleries with the same effect as flickering candles.

The subtlety of our engineering design allow these period rooms to truly suspend time and transport the visitor back in history. As it should be, the visitor is completely unaware of the behind-the-scenes engineering required to achieve such a realistic experience.


ARCHITECTKevin Roche John Dinkeloo
 and Associates
SIZE14,000 square feet

Photo credit: ©Anna Wesolowska/ www.photographerhedman.com