Originally planned as a temporary exhibit to celebrate the City of Manassas’ centennial, the Manassas Museum opened in 1974 and relocated to its current facility within Baldwin Park, the city’s main green space, in 1991.
The city recently engaged GWWO to reimagine how a renewed civic design could help the museum in fulfilling its mission to share the city’s important agricultural and Civil War history and significant regional impact with the community and visitors alike.
The design team worked closely with the Manassas Museum Design Committee to develop a concept that elevates the museum’s presence in response to its role as a significant civic building, while respecting the scale of the city’s historic core and view of the building’s iconic cupola. GWWO’s design will transform the physical relationship between the museum, park, and city by removing an existing isolating courtyard wall and siting the addition to engage the community, fully activate the town green space, and improve visitor flow. Visible from the nearby train station, the expansion will attract new visitors to learn the story of Manassas and provide opportunities to educate, unite, and grow the community.
The 4,800 SF addition includes a new special exhibit hall, collections storage, offices, and support space. Contextual yet distinct, the addition flanks the building’s existing wings and will graciously welcome those arriving from Baldwin Park. Clad in pre-patinated copper, the form of the special exhibit hall opens to the park creating dynamic views that engage visitors and the community. The administrative wing, located opposite the special exhibit hall, is a quieter composition complementing the existing building. A re-envisioned courtyard and amphitheater link the park and museum together and will provide flexible outdoor programming space activating both the museum and the park. A new entry and corridors with transparent glazing along the courtyard will create a continual dialogue between the museum and outdoor spaces.
The addition is slated to open in 2023 in conjunction with the 150th anniversary of the City of Manassas. For more information, please visit the Manassas Museum website.