The Morgan Library unveils $13M exterior restoration and new garden with public access

June 9, 2022

The Morgan Garden, view looking north. Courtesy of the Morgan Library & Museum, New York. © Brett Beyer, 2022.

The Morgan Library and Museum will unveil the recently restored exterior of the Morgan Library and the new Morgan Garden to the public this month. The six-year-long, $13 million project marks the first-ever comprehensive restoration of the historic 115-year-old library’s exterior. Designed by architect Charles Follen McKim for J.Pierpont Morgan, the library was completed in 1906 and later became a public institution. The project restores one of the nation’s finest examples of Neoclassical architecture, enhances the surrounding grounds, improves the building’s lighting, and enables public access to the grounds of the 36th street site for the first time ever.

The original entrance to J. Pierpont Morgan’s Library.Courtesy of the Morgan Library & Museum, New York. © Brett Beyer, 2022.

J. Pierpont Morgan’s Library and the Morgan Garden, view looking west toward the Annex. Courtesy of the Morgan Library & Museum, New York. © Brett Beyer, 2022.

In conjunction with the restoration, the Morgan’s site enhancements will reimagine the southern portion of the garden and offer visitor access. Developed by Todd Longstaffe-Gowan Landscape Design, the 36th Street site will be accessible to the public from the Morgan’s interior, creating a new and inviting space for tours and programs. This is the first U.S. project for the landscape designer, who has worked on notable projects in the U.K., including Hampton Court Palace, Kensington Palace Gardens, and the Royal College of Art.

“For over a century, there has been a blank canvas sitting in front of J. Pierpont Morgan’s Library. Our goal was to develop a new garden that was respectful of the historical context in which it is situated,” Longstaffe-Gowan said in a statement.

“The garden is designed to create a welcoming setting that allows visitors to experience the library up close and see details they may not have seen before. Making the landscape surrounding the building more worthy of the institution will be the greatest legacy of the garden.”

36th Street Garden: Sketch, aerial view Courtesy of Todd Longstaffe-Gowan

Architecture model showing revised garden design, Photography by Graham S. Haber, September 2019

The garden features beds of periwinkle, low-height herbaceous beds, and several antique ornaments from the museum’s collection never before publicly on display, including a Roman sarcophagus, a Roman funerary stele, and a pair of Renaissance corbels, according to a press release.

“The 1906 Library building is the heart of the modern Morgan and a link to its patron, as well as to the architects, builders, and artisans who created the historic structure,” Colin B. Bailey, director of the Morgan Library and Museum, said.

“The recent restoration and the new Garden have enabled us to reexamine the original commission and conception in a variety of ways and to expand our offerings to the public.”

Octagonal planting bed in the Morgan Garden. Courtesy of the Morgan Library & Museum, New York. © Brett Beyer, 2022.

The Morgan Garden, evening view looking north. Courtesy of the Morgan Library & Museum, New York. © Brett Beyer, 2022.

Visitors can stroll the garden during tours offered every Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday at 12:30 p.m. and during the “Saturdays in the Garden” program, open throughout the day to visitors with museum admission.

In celebration of this milestone in the garden’s history, the Morgan will host a Garden Family Fair and Free Community Weekend on Saturday, June 18 and Sunday, June 19 with free family activities (reservations are encouraged) including tours, story time and live music.

The Garden will be open for the season through Sunday, October 9.


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