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Posted at 2:00 PM ET, 01/25/2011

Work on East Building to begin in March

By Jacqueline Trescott

As planned, the National Gallery of Art will begin removing and reinstalling the 33-year-old veneer of the East Building in March.

The East Building, the landmark design of esteemed architect I. M. Pei, will remain open during the three-year project.

When gallery officials first noticed some crumbing and separation from the building's exterior wall, they appealed to Congress to finance what is a difficult and rare job. Congress, which gives the gallery an appropriation for repairs and upkeep, approved $85 million in total for this project.

The task includes removing 16,200 Tennessse pink marble panels. Each panel weighs about 450 pounds and is 5-feet-wide by 2-feet-high.

Since it opened in 1978, the East Building has had 68 million visitors.

During the repairs, scheduled to be completed in spring 2014, the public will not be able to use the sidewalks along the Mall side and Pennsylvania Ave. The sidewalks and the main entrance on 3rd Street will be open.

Unfortunately some of the Yoshino cherry and willow oak trees are being transferred to an off-site nursery, and others will be eliminated. The gallery promises the landscaping will be restored.

By Jacqueline Trescott  | January 25, 2011; 2:00 PM ET
Categories:  Jacqueline Trescott, Museums, National Gallery of Art  | Tags:  East Building of National Gallery of Art, National Gallery of Art, museum repairs  
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