Postal Museum in DC announces architects for William H. Gross Gallery

Two Maryland-based practices, exhibit-design firm Gallagher & Associates and historic preservation firm Cho Benn Holback + Associates, have been selected by Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum in Washington DC to create the William H. Gross Stamp Gallery.

The National Postal Museum was established through joint agreement between the United States Postal Service and the Smithsonian Institution in 1993. It houses many interactive displays about the history of the United States Postal Service and mail service around the world.

William H. Gross, the founder of Pacific Investment Management (PIMCO) and a stamp collector, has donated $8 million to the National Postal Museum to create a new 12,000 square feet gallery that will be named in his honor. The new gallery, which will give the museum public space at the street level, is expected to open in 2012.

Gallagher & Associates will be responsible for translating the curatorial selection of stamps, objects and information into exciting displays and exhibits for the public in the multimillion dollar expansion. The firm will bring the stories of stamps and mail to life by using interactives, graphics, signage and educational tools, which will allow visitors to explore and interpret these new objects on exhibit.

Cho Benn Holback, as the architectural firm, has the challenge of transforming the infrastructure of the 12,000 square feet historic lobby of the old post office and the gallery into a fully functional exhibition space, while maintaining the historic character of the building. The 30-year-old design firm specializes in institutional projects, with a focus on museums and visitors’ centers where it has extensive experience in collaboration with exhibit designers.

The new William H. Gross Gallery will house three extraordinary philatelic objects from Gross and other items from the National Stamp Collection. In addition, there will be space for educational exhibits, temporary exhibitions and public programs. The expansion will also allow direct access to the museum from Massachusetts Avenue, featuring a Welcome Center for the entire museum in the historic lobby of the Postal Square Building.

Gallagher & Associates is a professional design services firm serving clients throughout the US and abroad. The firm creates visitor experiences through museum master planning and exhibition design, brand development and media programming. Its recent projects include the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum in Atlanta and the Sant Ocean Hall at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History.

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