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Museum of Natural History, An Explanation for Two Years of Netting on 77th Street

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If you’ve wandered by the American Museum of Natural History in NY recently, you’ve likely wondered what exactly they’re doing to it, given that it’s all strung up in nets. Well, the NY Times had this great piece yesterday about the current reconstruction effort, what it’ll look like when they’re all finished up with it in 2009 and, where the real meat of the story is, the entire history of the building process, starting back in 1888. Here’s a bit:

The museum’s consultant on the latest renovation is Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, an architectural and engineering firm with headquarters in Northbrook, Ill.

Timothy Allanbrook, a senior consultant at the firm, said that at least three different quarries — in New York State, Texas and Canada — had supplied the stone for the museum. This was understandable, he said, given the multiyear construction period.

Steven Reichl, a spokesman for the museum, said that the work would include restoring 650 black-cherry window frames and stone repairs using granite recently taken from one of the original quarries, in New York State.

The facade will be cleaned, Mr. Reichl said, “to make the stone look like it did originally” more than a century ago.

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