Sant Ocean Hall
Washington, DC
National Museum of Natural History

Our team restored the original Beaux-Arts grandeur of the central galleries of the National Museum of Natural History. Informed by our research and study of archival drawings, we re-established the connectivity and flow within the museum to transform the Sant Ocean Halls into dynamic modern exhibit space. Linking the museum’s main entrances to the exhibit space, we defined clear wayfinding and flow for visitors. The historic architectural character and ornate details of the two-story central galleries were artfully restored and enhanced by re-opening the balconies and unearthing an original laylight. The dramatic space serves a backdrop for dynamic exhibits to engage generations of visitors.

The Solution


  • Honor Award for Institutional Architecture, American Institute of Architects | Potomac Valley
“The magnificence of this space is a wonderful backdrop for the Sant Ocean Hall…The Smithsonian chose Quinn Evans for this project, a firm with extensive experience in historic preservation…Quinn Evans has relied on Rathburn’s “A Descriptive Account of the Building” and archival drawings from that time to guide their work.”
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Project Team

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