New Bedford Whaling Museum
New Bedford, MA
Tim Hess, Studio Director
The Museum facility of the Old Dartmouth Historical Society has grown its real estate footprint to occupy the entire city block of Johnny Cake Hill site. An anchor for recent investment and revitalization of the old city, the museum is among the region's flagship cultural institutions.
In a city with a median income less than half the state's, and a non-white population over 1/3, the museum, has been seen by some as exlusive and celebratory of a narrow slice of New England culture.
The museum sought proposals for new space to house the receiving and restoration of new acquisitions, as well as library and research space.
The Moonlight Studio's scheme uses the expressive potential in the activities of receiving and restoration to turn this aspect of the museum inside-out, creating a short-cut through the block from a row of new restaurants and cafes on one side, to a corner vest-pocket park and the busy YMCA facility on the other.
Building physical and social connections... growing from within the staid institution to reach beyond the perimeter and make the NBWM a more active participant and contributor to life on the street - and to invite and welcome reciprocity.