There was a sneak peek tour of the National Museum of American History last week. The press donned hard hats and clambered around amid the dust and noise, following behind the tour guide, aka director Brent D. Glass. "We are making great strides," he announced.
The museum closed last fall for an $85-million renovation project that includes a drastically reorganized central atrium, which will house a grand staircase and a skylight that will bring natural light into the building's center. The first and second floors will also have floor-to-ceiling glass showcases for better display and rotation of the museum’s three million artifacts.
The museum in its current state of demolition proved disorienting to those who knew it before. The familiar marble paneled walls were gone, along with the wall where the Star-Spangled Banner once hung. From the first floor, we could see all the way up to third floor. And everyone needed frequent orientation directions—where’s the National Mall from here?