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Museums play a significant role in society. They are where generations of people cultivate a deeper understanding of the history and culture of a certain place or event. The U.S. is home to numerous notable museums; from the Metropolitan Museum of Art to The Smithsonian. Museums preserve and house collections of objects and materials that have cultural, historical, and religious importance.
Museums are built to attract visitors and complement the valuables they house; a process that requires both creativity and great attention to detail. Here, we have listed the top 25 museum contractors in the U.S.- firms with proven track records of high-quality workmanship and strong customer service. To curate this list, we have taken into account each firm’s capabilities in museum construction, years in the industry, awards received, and publications in which they have been featured.
If you are thinking about building a museum, we recommend checking each contractor’s license with the local licensing board, speaking to past clients, and using our bidding system to get competitive quotes from at least 3 contractors. Getting multiple bids is the best way to ensure you get a fair price and that bids include the complete scope of work.
300 East Joppa Rd., Towson, MD 21286
One hundred and ten years ago, Whiting-Turner was established to provide construction services to various market sectors, including arts, education, retail, industrial, and transportation. Whiting-Turner’s expertise in construction is continuously recognized by Engineering News-Record through its yearly top general building contractors list.
Whiting-Turner provided construction management services in the expansion of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. The new 160,000-square-foot expansion consists of a five-level glass and stone wing, and features galleries from both permanent and temporary exhibits. Whiting-Turner’s major expansion features a new atrium, which connects to the new building. The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts received the MIPIM Architectural Review Future Project Award in the Urban Communities and Sustainabilities category.
3 Church St., Suite #2, Winchester, MA 01890
John Moriarty established Moriarty with a focus on gathering a dynamic team to achieve the best construction management possible. The result is a hands-on team working through each phase of design and building to ensure project success. Because of its strong work ethic and stellar works, Moriarty became a leading and well-respected construction firm in the industry.
Moriarty’s extensive experience in building institutional and cultural structures led the firm to be hired for multiple noteworthy projects. One such example is the Perez Art Museum in Miami, Florida- an impressive LEED Gold Certified museum. Moriarty collaborated with Herzog & de Meuron to build the museum, which can be considered art itself.
23) H.J. Russell & Company
171 17th St. NW, Suite #1600, Atlanta, GA 30363
Since its inception in 1952, H.J. Russell & Company’s growth has been exponential, with annual revenue of over $250 million. The firm, headed by Michael Russell, has built countless remarkable structures in and out of Georgia. Russell’s diverse projects in retail, multi-family residential, and entertainment have brought the firm extensive experience and a solid reputation in the industry.
The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. is among the firm’s most notable work in its portfolio. The 400,000-square-foot museum houses extensive documentation of African American history and culture. Russell, in collaboration with Clark Construction and Smoot Construction, provided construction management services to the new museum. The project was designed and constructed to achieve LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold certification.
Russell’s exceptional work on The Smithsonian earned it ten awards, including the Structural Steel 2016 WBC Craftsmanship Award, the Exterior Glass 2016 WBC Craftsmanship Award, and the Excellence in the Face of Adversity award.
3900 Essex Ln. Suite #1200, Houston, TX 77027
Houston-based Linbeck seamlessly blends technology into its construction processes through its design/build and construction management services. Since its inception, Linbeck has been focused on building powerful and durable structures that contribute to the firm’s local and national recognition.
Linbeck showed exceptional skill as it built the new 53,000-square-foot exhibit space at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. The building was designed by Japanese architect Tadao Ando and constructed by Linbeck. The new museum features a blend of elements including glass, concrete, and water to create a visual elegance. This work has received recognition worldwide. Awards have included the Dallas Business Press Top Ten Award, the AON Build America Award, the Associated General Contractors (AGC) Quoin Summit Award, the CRSI Design Award, and a TX Building Branch Outstanding Construction award.
21) Korte Company
5700 Oakland Ave. Suite #275, St. Louis, MO 63110
Korte Company was established in 1958 with professionalism, quality, and project success at its core. Equipped with a team of skilled architects and engineers, the firm is able to provide a full range of construction services in different market sectors. In addition to its attractive designs, the firm pays attention to building with safety standards and sustainable materials.
To preserve the importance and historical impact of the Cahokia Mounds in southern Illinois, The Capital Development Board of Illinois contracted Korte to build a museum. The museum plans were quite a challenge as it required minimal right angles with its floor plan and 1,500 feet of linear footing. The museum includes a theater, a multi-purpose area, retail space, and administrative offices.
The beautiful work that Korte did for the Cahokia Museum and Interpretive Center received national recognition. The firm was the recipient of awards including the Outstanding Achievement Award from the Brick Manufacturer Association, the Merit Award from the Metal Construction Association, the Thomas H. Madigan Award, and the St. Louis Construction News & Reviews Readers’ Choice Award.
20) Gilbane Building Company
7 Jackson Walkway, Providence, RI 02903
Gilbane Building Company’s 146 years of construction experience is evident in its comprehensive and diverse project portfolio. With expertise on projects spanning a variety of market sectors including cultural arts, Gilbane is a nationally-recognized leader within the industry. In 2018 Building Design & Construction (BD&C) ranked Gilbane the #3 Cultural Arts facility builder in the country.
The recently completed 78,000 SF expansion and renovation of The Norton Museum of Art sought to modernize and restore this South Florida cultural centerpiece to its original intent as an elegant Art Deco-inspired facility. With the addition of a 40-foot cantilevered roof canopy, extensive exterior glass system and reflective pool, the newly updated facility sits prominently on the area’s main thoroughfare. Recognized as one of The 14 Most Anticipated Buildings of 2019 by Architectural Digest, the new museum’s sleek façade and intricate landscaping blends cohesively with the updated gallery and educational spaces within.
9090 S. Sandy Pkwy., Sandy, UT 84070
Unable to finish his engineering studies, World War II veteran Alan W. Layton was faced with a challenging situation when he needed to provide for his family. This led him to take a job with the Bureau of Reclamation, during which he gained extensive skills in construction. Years later, these skills allowed him to establish Layton Construction. Today, the firm offers construction services to academic, cultural, and commercial projects.
The Utah Museum of Fine Arts (UMFA) is a university and state art museum providing cultural and visual arts in Salt Lake City, Utah. The building is an assemblage of five distinct rectangles containing more than 20 galleries, a cafe, a museum store, a five-story great hall, and a sculpture garden. Layton crafted the museum using fine materials, including mahogany and granite flooring and Brazillian cherry wood on the walls to compliment the artworks. This project received an AGC (Associated General Contractors) Best Award and the Honor Award from the Boston Society of Architects.
200 Park Ave., 9th fl., New York, NY 10166
Lendlease is a force in the construction industry, offering construction services worldwide. The international construction firm has completed more than 100 major projects in the U.S. alone, an accomplishment that is a result of the firm’s creative and responsible leaders.
The firm’s diverse portfolio of projects shows its versatility in construction. Among its projects are museums, including the September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York City. The memorial, which took inspiration from the Pearl Harbor and World War II Memorials, lies on the lot where the previous twin towers stood. The museum, at 10,000 square feet, houses the remnants of the World Trade Center. Lendlease was honored to lead the construction of the memorial and the museum, doing its part in giving 9/11 lasting memory.
17) Downes Construction Company
200 Stanley St., New Britain, CT 06050
Downes Construction Company’s long-standing presence in the construction industry has enabled it to combine traditional construction practices with the latest technology in construction. From its founding in 1934, the firm has been continuously serving Connecticut with unparalleled service. It has completed more than 50 major projects in various market sectors.
The New Britain Museum of American Art in New Britain, Connecticut sought the construction services of Downes Construction for an addition to and renovation of the museum. The new construction added 43,000 square feet to the existing 10,000-square-foot museum.
Downes Construction Company’s proven abilities as a leading construction firm have been recognized through the awards it has been presented with over the past years. These awards include the 2018 Safety Platinum Award from the AGC, the 2018 Safety Recognition Award from the AGC, and the 2017 Associated General Contractors Build Connecticut Award.
16) Balfour Beatty
3100 McKinnon St., Dallas, TX 75201
Balfour Beatty constructs structures and buildings that enhance people’s lives and improve communities. The Dallas-based firm provides general contracting services across markets such as education, healthcare, and military housing. Brian Cahill leads the pool of professionals at Balfour Beatty. His 30 years of unmatched experience in the construction industry and strong leadership skills have brought the firm numerous projects and acknowledgments.
Balfour Beatty recently completed a fascinating project for the National Museum of the Marine Corps. The project aimed to embody the values of the Marine Corps— honor, courage, and valor. The project, located in Triangle, Virginia, involved a two-story ingenious construction from Balfour. The museum is constructed with glass, structural steel, and composite concrete decks. The 160-foot glass and steel atrium is hung with suspended planes from its ceiling.
15) PCL Construction
2000 South Colorado Blvd., Tower Two, Suite #2-500, Denver, CO 80222
PCL Construction is a large construction company offering services in the U.S., Canada, the Carribean, and Australia. Its diverse construction clients and audience span from civil infrastructure to heavy industrial, and include education, healthcare, and cultural building markets.
A notable project of PCL Construction was the one-of-a-kind Grammy Museum in Los Angeles, California. Opened on the 50th anniversary of the Grammys, the museum spans the history of musical entertainment. The four-level museum features timeline displays, interactive sound booths, and a sound and vibration isolated theatre. PCL had the opportunity of building everything from top to bottom.
PCL’s achievement in building the museum was greatly received by the public and award-giving bodies. For the project, PCL Construction was awarded the 2010 Community Impact Award from the Los Angeles Business Council. The firm also received the 2011 Commercial Real Estate Award from the Los Angeles Business Journal, and ranked third on the Ten Most Important Projects of the Last Ten Years by the Los Angeles Downtown News.
14) W.E. O’Neil
1245 W. Washington Blvd., Chicago, IL 60607
W.E. O’Neil is a Chicago-based construction company founded in 1925. The firm’s award-winning works are rooted in its excellent and a skilled team of professionals collaborating to make each project successful. W.E. O’Neil is a recognized industry leader with operations in Illinois, California, Arizona, Colorado, and Tennessee.
Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry partnered with W.E. O’Neil to construct the museum’s new underground gallery, featuring the U-505 Submarine. The U-505 Submarine- a German submarine prowling the waters of the Atlantic- was captured by the U.S. Navy Task Group in 1944. Placed in a museum in 1954, W.E. O’Neil gave it its new and majestic home, which included 30-foot high monolithically poured concrete walls and buttresses. All of the work was performed seamlessly with minimal disturbances in neighboring establishments.
207 King St., Suite #300, San Francisco, CA 94107
Jes Pedersen’s early exposure to construction during his childhood sparked his interest in finding new and creative ways of delivering traditional building projects. This ideal has been a constant challenge and standard that the firm advocates to this day. Webcor’s wide spectrum of services spans from simple construction to the most complex projects, in the academic, healthcare, federal, and hospitality sectors.
Webcor excelled in the seamless expansion of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) located in San Francisco, California. The SFMOMA expansion was a renovation and addition designed by Snøhetta and EHDD Architecture. It included a renovation of the existing museum, and a 200,000 square-foot addition onto the back of the preexisting museum.
12) Turner Construction
375 Hudson St., 6th Flr., New York, NY 10014
Turner Construction was established in 1906 and has since evolved into a global company, specializing in the building of schools, hospitals, and cultural centers. Turner incorporates green and sustainable building techniques into its projects, earning it the title of Number One Green Builder in the Country by Engineering News-Record.
One of Turner Construction’s most notable projects was NYC’s Museum of Modern Art, or MoMA. Designed by Taniguchi & Associates and Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates, the famous museum houses and develops modernist art, and is considered to be one of the most influential museums of modern art in the country. Turner Construction provided the 630,000 square-foot, five-building museum with a new east wing gallery, office tower, and education center buildings, and performed renovation work for the administration building and museum tower spaces.
11) Clark Construction
7500 Old Georgetown Rd., Bethesda, MD 20814
Clark Construction builds more than just aesthetically pleasing structures- it builds with the intention of ensuring a structure’s safety and functionality for years to come. Operating for over a century, the firm’s principled and creative leaders have guided the company to great heights. Clark has received many awards over the years, most recently including the 2018 DBIA National Award of Merit, the 2018 DBIA Excellence in Teaming Award, and the 2018 DBIA Excellence in Process Award. In addition, Engineering News-Record often ranks the firm highly on its Top General Building Contractor and Top Green General Contractor lists.
In 2018, working with The Malrite Company and JBG Companies, the International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C. received a retrofit and new construction from Clark Construction. The firm installed a glass veil curtain wall in front of an enclosed exhibition space called the “black box”. This feature adds a thrilling aspect to the museum, revealing the internal movements of museum-goers to the public.
10) Matt Construction
9814 Norwalk Blvd., Suite #100, Santa Fe Springs, CA 90670
Matt Construction has been designing and creating some of the most remarkable buildings in the Western U.S. since 1991. The firm is committed to collaborating within the company, and with its clients, to achieve high-quality projects. Matt Construction’s proficient team has been recognized by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Los Angeles with a Building Team of the Year Award and the AIA Presidential Award.
Through the design of Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates and the skillful construction of Matt Construction, the Petersen Automotive Museum is undeniably one of the most remarkable structures in Los Angeles. The museum houses a world-class collection of art, experience, culture, and heritage of automobiles. The Petersen Automotive Museum’s 20th anniversary was celebrated through a grand modernization of its exterior facade, as well as a complete interior redesign. The museum received the 2017 Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture and Design Award.
266 Summer St., Boston, MA 02210
Consigli is a fourth generation construction company based in Boston, MA. Led by Matthew and Anthony Consigli, the firm encourages a culture of teamwork and a strong work ethic. Consigli showed its expertise in historic renovations when it restored and expanded the Bowdoin College Museum of Art in Brunswick, Maine. In order to preserve the original 1984 design of the museum, Consigli opted for a below-grade addition and a small free-standing entry pavilion, which preserves the character and historic power of the building. The new 600-square-foot pavilion is made up of glass and bronze, and includes elegant steel and stone stairs and a glass elevator, which leads visitors down to the new lower-level gallery.
The construction work for the Bowdoin College Museum of Art received numerous awards for its excellence. These awards include the Build Maine Award for Preservation from the Associated General Contractors of Maine, the Reconstruction & Renovation Preservation Gold Award from Building Design + Construction, and the Reconstruction & Renovation Award from the Chicago Athenaeum.
8) JE Dunn
1001 Locust St., Kansas City, MO 64106
JE Dunn is a family-owned company that has been serving Missouri with high-quality construction services since 1924. The firm is an industry leader in sustainable building, and the use of building information modeling (BIM) as well. As an Engineering News-Record-ranked top green building contractor, the firm upholds a commitment to build through its “Think Green, Build Blue” initiative.
The Minnesota Children’s Museum in St. Paul, Minnesota is known as one of the top children’s museums in the U.S. JE Dunn provided an expansion of the gallery space, renovation of the public atrium, a new multi-story climbing structure, and new creative office spaces. The 67,000 square-foot project was completed in 2017.
The firm’s stellar construction services have been recognized in publications including the Houston Business Journal, the Charlotte Business Journal, and the Phoenix Business Journal. In addition, the firm has been the recipient of the 2017 Build Georgia Award by the AGC of Georgia, the 2017 Award of Merit by Engineering News-Record Midwest, and the 2017 Architectural Merit Award by the American Institute of Architects of Kansas City.
1341 N. Rock Hill Rd., St. Louis, MO 63124
McCarthy offers more than a century of world-class construction in the U.S., across a multitude of markets including aviation, education, entertainment, and research. Being one of the oldest American-owned construction companies in the country, McCarthy has a firm understanding of the construction industry. The distinct work of McCarthy has been given various recognitions over the years, most recently including the 2018 Engineering News-Record Project of the Year, the 2018 Diamond STEP Award from the ABC, and recent features in Forbes’ 2019 Best Employers for Diversity.
McCarthy built the expansion of the Museum of Fine Arts building in Houston, Texas. The project included the demolition and replacement of the 86,000 square-foot Glassell School of Art. A new 160,000 square-foot exhibition hall was also constructed, and the Cullen Sculpture Garden renovated.
6) The Beck Group
1807 Ross Ave., Suite #500, Dallas, TX 75201
The Beck Group weaves modern, creative, and aesthetically pleasing features into each of its projects. Led by CEO Fred Perpall, the architecture and construction firm’s portfolio of projects show great diversity in style and construction processes. Under Perpall’s leadership, Beck delivers groundbreaking projects that highlight the firm’s innovative capabilities and construction excellence.
Beck constructed the new Salvador Dali museum, which replaced the original one-story facility. The 63,000 square-foot museum is highly regarded, and listed as one of AOL Travel’s “Buildings you have to see before you die.” Construction included areas for school groups, visitor orientation, and temporary exhibitions, and an indoor/outdoor cafe. The design of the museum pays homage to Dali — spiraling staircases and a free-form glass geodesic structure made of 1,062 faceted glass panes. The Salvador Dali Museum is located along the St. Petersburg, Florida waterfront, so it was built to withstand a category 5 hurricane.
700 Meadow Lane North, Minneapolis, MN 55422
Mortenson’s broad range of services enables it to offer clients high-performing projects that prove its capability in the construction process. The Cultural and Performing Arts section of its portfolio showcases the firm’s diverse projects, including the Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Denver Art Museum. The firm completed the Frederic C. Hamilton building- an addition to the Denver Art Museum in Denver, Colorado- in 2006. The 146,000 square-foot structure’s geometric and titanium-clad wall resemble the rocky mountains in the background. Mortenson collaborated with world-renowned architect Daniel Libeskind for this project.
The firm’s work received numerous awards, including the Excellence in Construction Eagle Award from the ABC, the Presidential Award for Structural Engineering from the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC), and the Eagle Award for Excellence in Construction from the ABC Rocky Mountain Chapter.
4) Shawmut Design and Construction
560 Harrison Ave., Boston, MA 02118
Shawmut Design and Construction offers a wide variety of construction services, from academic facilities to sports venues. The firm’s expertise in construction has earned it a positive reputation among clients in Boston, New York, Las Vegas, Miami, Chicago, and beyond.
Shawmut Design and Construction’s portfolio in cultural and historic structures demonstrate a sophisticated and classical touch in each project. One such example of Shawmut’s work is the Boston Children’s Museum, in Boston Massachusetts. Shawmut provided renovations and construction services that took 19 months to complete and covered 175,000 square feet.
Shawmut’s sustainable work on the Boston Children’s Museum received a LEED Gold Certificate, a BSA (Boston Society of Architects) Honor Award for Excellence in Design, and the Boston Preservation Alliance Preservation Achievement Award.
3) DPR Construction
1450 Veterans Blvd., Redwood City, CA 94063
DPR Construction completes complex and sustainable projects around the world. For its high-quality project construction and the meticulous work the firm implements, it has received numerous awards over the years. DPR received the 2018 Construction Employers Associate Excellence in Safety Award, the NAIOP Awards of Excellence, and the 2019 Golden Trowel Award.
DPR Construction demonstrated its prowess in historic renovation when the firm transformed the former San Francisco Main Library into the San Francisco Asian Art Museum. The building was condemned after the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. DPR Construction renovated the building with 210 base isolators designed to withstand up to 8.3 magnitude earthquake. The firm partnered with LEM Construction to restore the granite facade, perform an interior renovation of the great hall, renovate the grand staircase, and add a 50-foot tall skylight. The skylight floods the originally-dark museum with natural light, giving it a fresh and lighter atmosphere.
2) W.M. Jordan Company
11010 Jefferson Ave., Newport News, VA 23601
W.M. Jordan Company offers clients a wide variety of services, including high-end projects that exceed expectations while staying on budget and on schedule. Specializing in markets including education, corporate, commercial, and cultural, W.M Jordan Company was named the 2018 Mid Atlantic Contractor of the Year by Engineering News-Record and received an Honor Award of Excellence in the Institutional Category from the Associated Builders and Contractors Virginia Chapter (ABC Va).
The American Revolution Museum situated in Yorktown, Virginia showcases the history of the nation’s founding from the colonial period. The firm was the construction manager for the first phase of construction, which included a new 80,000-square-foot facility, visitor parking areas, and demolition of existing structures. The newly-built wing expanded exhibition galleries, classrooms, and support functions.
The firm has also recently completed renovations to the Science Museum of Virginia, The project consisted of a 9,300 square foot renovation to the Main Concourse Gallery and a new, 16,000 square foot special events center and was awarded a 2017 Best Cultural/Worship Project by Engineering News Record Mid-Atlantic region. Currently, they are working on an expansion project for the Colonial Williamsburg Art Museum.
1) Structure Tone
330 W. 34th St., New York, NY 10001
Tackling challenges with innovative and sustainable solutions has been the firm’s commitment since day one. Founded in the 1970’s, the firm has earned a reputation for delivering excellent projects and maintaining workplace safety. Structure Tone’s vast selection of services includes the cultural and arts sector, including museums and performing centers.
Structure Tone partnered with Gehry Partners, LLP for the major renovations made to the main building of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The design of the renovations balanced the interior and made it and easier to navigate, while maintaining its architectural integrity. The construction involved the demolition of walls and the installation of vistas on the second floor, as well as the renovation of a 640-foot long historic vaulted walkway, which had not been touched since the 1960s. All throughout the construction and renovation, the museum was kept open. Structure Tone worked in a seamless manner with minimal disturbance to the artworks and the visitors.
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