J.P. Morgan Library, New York, ca. 1905. Photo: Wurts Bros / Museum of the City of New York.

Morgan Library & Museum to Undergo $12.5 Million Restoration

The Morgan Library & Museum in New York—the home of the collection of illuminated, literary, and historical manuscripts; early printed books; and old-master drawings and prints assembled by financier and banker John Pierpont Morgan (1837–1913)—announced today that it is planning a $12.5 million renovation.

The four-year project will focus on restoring the exterior of J. Pierpont Morgan’s library. The neoclassical building, designed by McKim, Mead & White, was commissioned by Morgan in 1902 as his private library and was completed in 1906. The renovation will focus on enhancing the surrounding grounds, improving the exterior lighting, and increasing public access to the building, and will address masonry deterioration and rood conditions.

In 2010, the Morgan restored the library’s interior rooms, and in 2016, it began planning for the renovation of the exterior by engaging Integrated Conservation Resources, a firm specializing in the restoration of historic structures, to provide an initial needs assessment of the library’s condition. The Morgan will also work with Todd Longstaffe-Gowan Landscape Design, which has led projects in the United Kingdom, including for Hampton Court Palace, Kensington Palace Gardens, and the Royal College of Art.

“Restoring the sublime exterior of J. Pierpont Morgan’s Library is far and away our most important capital project for the next decade,” said director Colin B. Bailey. “This is our responsibility. And, in many respects, it is our privilege. Once the restoration of the library is complete and the grounds are revitalized, the public will be able to engage more fully with one of McKim, Mead & White’s most important architectural achievements. The enhanced grounds will create a generous new space for outdoor programming and allow visitors to look closely at the exterior architectural and sculptural details of the library.”

To date, 74 percent of the $12.5 million has been raised. While on-site work will begin this month, the library will remain open to visitors during the restoration process. The renovation and rehabilitation of the grounds are slated to be completed in the fall of 2020.