In 2019, the Morgan Library & Museum announced a major restoration to the 112-year old exterior of J. Pierpont Morgan’s Library. The conservation and restoration of the stunning example of Neoclassical architecture in America was authorized to improve the grounds surroundings, better the building’s exterior lighting, expand public access, and open a new garden on the campus.
Before, the Morgan Library & Museum had a simple lawn that lacked interaction with the remainder of the Library’s campus. The new garden design by award-winning landscape designer Todd Longstaffe-Gowan and lighting designer Linnaea Tillett allows for greater engagement between the interior and exterior campus, in addition to improved outdoor aesthetics.
“Restoring the sublime exterior of J. Pierpont Morgan’s Library is far and away our most important capital project for the next decade,” said Director Colin B. Bailey. “The enhanced grounds will create a generous new space for outdoor programming and allow visitors to look closely at the exterior architectural and sculptural details of the Library.”
The garden will officially open to the public on June 18, 2022. Timed tickets and tours running Tuesday to Thursday and Saturday to Sunday will let visitors explore the new space. Morgan Library will also host “Saturdays in the Garden,” included with Museum admission. Guests can walk along paths of bluestone inspired by the patterns from the Library’s floor and exterior paving, while admiring tasteful pebble work accents.
New to the grounds are beds of periwinkle and low-height herbaceous plants. On display is a large Roman sarcophagus, a Roman funerary stele, and a pair of Renaissance corbels from the Morgan’s holdings that haven’t been shown to the public until now.
“The new 36th Street garden is a significant part of the Morgan’s commitment to increasing public engagement with our historic original building and surrounding site,” said Director Colin B. Bailey. “The enhanced grounds will allow visitors and school groups to look closely at the fascinating exterior architectural and sculptural details of the Library. It is a privilege for us to be able to share such a significant architectural marvel with our community.”
The garden will look just as lustrous at night thanks to lighting design improvements offering a stunning “moonlit nocturnal environment.” As part of the new lighting design plans, J. Pierpont Morgan’s Library’s historic hanging lanterns will be relit and spotlights will showcase the building’s breathtaking details and garden features.
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