Restoring PAFA's Historic Landmark Building

The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) has begun an extensive project to repair the roof, skylights, masonry, and gutters on the front portion of the Historic Landmark Building.

Installation of scaffolding started on May 18, and repairs to the 139-year-old building will continue throughout the summer. Repairs will focus on cleaning the building's stone and brick exterior, adding new slate, fixing skylights and the glass roof, and repairing gutters to prevent icicles forming on the facade. The restoration is in compliance with the Philadelphia Historical Commission, and the cleaning procedures will be both gentle and environmentally safe.

Museum visitors will still be able to access the Historic Landmark Building during normal museum hours; there will be a covered walkway extending along the front of the building on Broad Street.

Frank Furness and George Wattson Hewitt, <em>ELEVATION:ON:BROAD:STREET:</em>, 1873-76, Black ink, watercolor wash, and pencil on white paper on mount, 25 1/2 x 34 1/2 in., 1876.6.8

These repairs to the Historic Landmark Building enable PAFA to continue a proud history of housing its permanent collections and special exhibitions in what is widely recognized as one of the best surviving examples of  Victorian Gothic architecture. PAFA has remained dedicated to preserving this building, which was designed by the Philadelphia firm of Frank Furness and George Hewitt and opened in 1876. For the building's centenary in 1976, an extensive interior restoration occurred. Then in 2010, another round of building repairs cleaned and coated trusses, replaced downspouts, and restored the wooden entrance doors.

The latest repairs are part of a larger Campus Master Plan to continue developing PAFA. This summer, construction will also begin in the Samuel M.V. Hamilton Building to add classrooms, studios, a library, digital arts and computer facilities, and a facility for archives and works-on-paper conservation, as PAFA prepares for the school's new Fine Arts Illustration program and Low-Residency Master of Fine Arts degree.