Mystic Seaport Museum

Thompson Exhibition Building


The newly designed Thompson Exhibition 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 features movable walls and high ceilings for maximum flexibility.

The building is the focal point of a redesigned quadrangle lined by already existing, smaller galleries. Demolition of three buildings was required to accommodate the new design space.

Kohler Ronan was engaged to provide MEP/FP and technology design for the project. High security and museum-quality temperature and humidity controls facilitates hosting more prominent exhibits. Engineering features include closed loop geothermal heating and cooling, custom sprinklers, and specially designed fabric ducts to coordinate with particular slope and structure of the building.


ARCHITECTCenterbrook Architects
 & Planners
SIZE14,000 square feet
COST$11.5 million
AWARDSThe 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