Mystic Seaport Museum

Thompson Exhibition Building


The newly designed Thompson Exhibit Building is perhaps the most prominent structure on Mystic Seaport’s 19-acre campus. The glass–and–wood design inspired by sailing vessels and the sea features exposed timber frames and calls to mind the hull of an old sailing ship. Welcoming the seaport’s guests in rain or shine, the building serves as a visitor center, houses a gift shop, and affords the museum the versatile exhibition space it requires. The 5,000 square-foot exhibit hall will feature movable walls and high ceilings for maximum flexibility.

Following the demolition of three separate campus buildings and the redesign of the quadrangle, Kohler Ronan designed mechanical, electrical, plumbing, fire protection,and technology systems for the new exhibition space. Engineering features include a geothermal system coupled with water-to-water heat pumps, energy-efficient LED lighting, an enhanced envelope, custom sprinklers, and specially-designed fabric ducts to coordinate with the distinctive slope and structure of the building. High security and museum-quality environmental controls facilitate the hosting of prominent museum exhibits.


ARCHITECTCenterbrook Architects
 & Planners
SIZE14,000 square feet
COST$11.5 million
AWARDSBest 100 Wood Projects in US, 2018
 The Annual Connecticut Real Estate Awards
 2017, Blue Ribbon Honoree for Best
 Speciality Project; AIA QUAD 2017 Design
 Awards, Honor Award-With Distinction;
 CTBGC Institutional Award of Merit, 2018

Photo credit: ©Derek Hayn/Centerbook; others Courtesy of Mystic Seaport Museum