Pennsylvania State Museum and Archives—Private

Harrisburg, PA

The Pennsylvania State Museum and Archives buildings are sited on a large open plaza just west of the State Capitol building in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The slender twenty-story archives tower and the cylindrical, faceted museum building were completed in the early 1960s. The tower houses over 200 million documents and the museum showcases the natural and cultural history of the state.

In 2012, the state approached we for ideas on how to perform a make-safe survey on the exterior envelopes of both buildings. We suggested a partnership with Vertical Access, a rope-access firm. Together, the two firms performed a survey of the entire museum and archives complex in three days. We building conservators interpreted the results of the survey and recommended a five-year plan of action to remediate exterior cladding problems and improve the water-tightness of the two buildings. Using Vertical Access’ proprietary TPAS software, deliverables included photographs of all conditions linked to elevations, all viewable and sortable through a web portal. Photos of conditions from past surveys were integrated into the new information so that conditions could be viewed across time to chart deterioration rates.