Restoration of J. Pierpont Morgan’s Library

Phootgraph of J. Pierpont Morgan’s Library, 1905

A Message From Our Director

This morning I announced plans for the exterior restoration of J. Pierpont Morgan’s Library designed by McKim, Mead & White. I wanted you to be among the first to know about this four-year, $12.5 million project, the first comprehensive restoration of the landmark Library’s exterior in its 112-year history. It will conserve one of the finest examples of Neoclassical architecture in the United States, enhance the grounds surrounding the Library, improve the lighting of the building, and increase public access and appreciation of this historic architectural treasure.

J. Pierpont Morgan’s Library is the heart of the Morgan Library & Museum. Commissioned in 1902 by financier Pierpont Morgan as his private library, the building was completed in 1906 and is considered one of McKim, Mead & White’s finest works, perfectly embodying the Renaissance ideal of the unity of the arts through the integration of architecture, sculpture, and painting with exceptional craftsmanship and materials. The structure reflects its contents: majestic in design, yet intimate in scale.

In 2010 the Morgan restored the interior rooms of J. Pierpont Morgan’s Library. In 2016 the Morgan began planning for the exterior restoration by engaging Integrated Conservation Resources, Inc. (ICR), a firm specializing in the restoration of historic structures. Supported by the architecture firm Beyer Blinder Belle, ICR has now finalized the restoration’s details. The forthcoming exterior restoration will be comprehensive and addresses issues such as masonry deterioration, masonry joint failure, roof conditions, deterioration of the fence and other metalwork corrosion, and sculpture conservation.

In conjunction with the restoration, exterior lighting on J. Pierpont Morgan’s Library will be improved by enhancing existing light emanating from the interior and using historical fixtures coupled with new technologies. The scheme will create a painterly effect of layered light at dusk and dark. Developed by Tillett Lighting Design Associates, the new lighting design will give the Library a much more inviting presence.

Restoring J. Pierpont Morgan’s Library also presents us with a unique opportunity to reimagine the natural setting around it and to provide for visitor access to the site for the first time in the institution’s history. After an extensive search, the Morgan engaged Todd Longstaffe-Gowan Landscape Design as a landscape design partner to develop designs to address these issues. An accomplished landscape architect, historian, teacher, and author, Todd Longstaffe-Gowan has led notable projects in the United Kingdom, including Hampton Court Palace, Kensington Palace Gardens, and the Royal College of Art, among others. This is his first commission in the United States.

We encourage to you to follow the project's process via this website and social media.

With my good wishes,
Colin B. Bailey

Madison Avenue near East 36th Street. J.P. Morgan Library. Wurts Bros. (New York, NY), ca. 1905. Museum of the City of New York, X2010.7.1.197.