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Papyrus—Spring 2012

Letter from the Editor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Message from the President . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

The Delaware Art Museum Celebrates Its

100th Anniversary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Hagley Museum and Library . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Architect of the Capitol Begins Conservation

of Statue of Freedom. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Protecting the Historic Thomas Jefferson

Building from the Footsteps of Time . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Benchmarking: Are We Still Relevant? . . . . . . . . . . .

Lean Leadership in Facility Management . . . . . . . . . .

Green vs. Sustainable . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

2012 IAMFA Conference Schedule . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Smart Chilled Water at the National

Portrait Gallery . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Renovating the Baltimore Museum of Art . . . . . . . . .

2012 IAMFA Annual European Meeting . . . . . . . . . .

Regional Updates and Member News . . . . . . . . . . . .

Regional News . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

IAMFA Members—Organizations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Index of Papyrus Technical and Historical Articles . . .


Letter from the Editor

Greetings from Los Angeles!

Having recently returned from IAMFA’s mid-year Board meeting in Philadelphia, I can report that the Board had very good meetings every day, and that the organization is thriving both fiscally, and in our efforts to standardize our operating policies and processes. I feel that we are stronger as an organization than any time since my joining the board in 2005. Please make sure you read the message from our President in this issue; we owe John de Lucy so much for his leadership and guidance during his four years as our President. 

During the mid-year Board meeting, we visited all of the venues for IAMFA’s 2012 Mid-Atlantic Conference, and met many of their leaders. As I believe all of our members and guests have grown to anticipate, you will experience a spectacular Conference this year on September 16–19. 

Our home during the Conference will be the Philadelphia Ritz-Carlton, and you are right in anticipating that you will love this hotel. I can also verify the rumor that there is Happy Hour everyday from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. in the hotel’s spectacular atrium dome, and I predict this will become a very popular meeting place at the end of the day, when we can all visit with both new attendees and old friends—and I might add, they serve some nice wines at happy hour for $5. 

We snapped lots of pictures during the board visit, and you will find a collage of these pictures in this issue of Papyrus.  You will also see the schedule for the conference in the centerfold. 

I can also report that IAMFA’s LinkedIn Group continues to grow, now with 301 members from 28 countries. We want the LinkedIn Group to be an effective way for IAMFA members to communicate with one another between conferences, and we also hope that discussions within the LinkedIn Group will encourage those who are not yet members of IAMFA to take a closer look at our organization. If you haven’t already done so, please join the Group and get involved in the discussions. 

I might also add that each member of the LinkedIn Group has the option to invite colleagues to join the Group, so if you know anyone you believe could benefit from getting to know IAMFA, please feel free to visit the Group, and select the “share group” option at the top. The rest is simple. Ultimately, we want those who can benefit from membership in IAMFA to learn about us. Most of all, however, we want IAMFA members to have a forum in which to discuss situations they may have at work, allowing them to benefit from the collective knowledge of IAMFA’s members.

In this issue of Papyrus, you’ll find a variety of articles, including one called “Protecting the Historic Thomas Jefferson Building from the Footsteps of Time”. If you recall, this is where we had our gala dinner during the 2009 Conference in Washington, D.C. I think there are many IAMFA members who will benefit from the findings of this study organized by the Architect of the Capitol (AOC). 

You will also read about plans by the AOC to restore the Statue of Freedom in Washington, D.C. You will find an article about “Lean Leadership in Facility Management” from Stephanie Wurtzel and Judie Cooper at the Smithsonian. Everyone has been under pressure to get “Lean” in recent times, and Stephanie and Judie have some great advice to offer. You will also find the article “Green vs. Sustainable”, written by Rebecca Ellis. If you have been a member of IAMFA for several years, you may remember Rebecca’s presentation at the Getty Villa in 2006 on the topic of Retro-Commissioning. Rebecca advised the Getty when we set out to achieve LEED Certification back in 2005, and she is tops in her field!

In this issue, you’ll also read about “Smart Chilled Water” at the National Portrait Gallery in London by Allan Tyrrell and Kevin Dunn. Stacey Wittig writes about “Benchmarking: Are we still Relevant?”, and I think we all know that benchmarking is one of the best ways to learn from others how to improve our operations. IAMFA’s Annual Benchmarking Exercise continues to be a cornerstone of the IAMFA organization.

In addition, you’ll read about the Hagley Museum and the Delaware Art Museum, both of which are venues for this year’s conference. When you attend the conference, you can expect to have a “BLAST”. You’ll have to attend to find out what I mean!

There’s more as well in this issue of Papyrus, including an article about the ambitious renovation project at the Baltimore Museum of Art, and a recap of the Annual European meeting of IAMFA members, held recently in Paris. I hope you enjoy this issue. Thank you so much to everyone who contributed articles—and especially to our sponsors who have helped make it possible for IAMFA to grow and thrive now for more than twenty years.

Joe May, Editor


Message from the President

I have served on the IAMFA board for nearly six years, four of which have been as your President, following my election at the London 2008 conference. I have thoroughly enjoyed my term—especially working with such a good team on the Board, to whom I give many thanks and good wishes for the future.

As I have retired from the British Library, it seems appropriate that I stand down at the end of this second two-year term, which will be during the September conference in Philadelphia. This will create a vacancy to be filled—hopefully from the existing Board—which will in turn create a vacancy. The VP Administration role, carried out superbly by Randy Murphy, also comes up for election this year. Randy will run the electronic voting system to ensure we have voted for new board members by the time of the September conference.

As you know, IAMFA is run by an all-volunteer board, and we need members to offer to help run the organisation, so please let Randy know before the end of May if you are willing to serve on the Board in any of the available positions, so that he can plan the electronic voting process.

Many thanks to Pat Morgan for stepping in to be Secretary for the Board following her successful Auckland conference. This helps relieve Joe May from a double role as Secretary and editor of Papyrus, allowing him to focus on our excellent magazine.

Over the past six years, IAMFA has had consistently successful conferences, all producing a profit, which helps to keep membership and conference fees low. Thanks to significant hard work from our Treasurer Alan—despite his large refurbishment project at the Baltimore Art Museum—we are in a sound financial position, and he has also reviewed our "not-for-profit" legal status.

As you have seen and read, Joe May has transformed Papyrus over this same period. In addition, both Joe and Randy have reviewed and substantially updated our processes and procedures, and hopefully you will soon see their major improvements to the web site. Our excellent benchmarking process also continues to improve and grow, bringing enormous benefits to members.

I would like to express my appreciation as well to previous President, Guy Laroque, who has been a great mentor to me, and has contributed significantly to the Board over the past four years.

John Castle, VP Regional Affairs, is our conference host this year in Delaware and Philadelphia, and has put together an inspiring and educational programme. Members and their guests are certain to learn a great deal from local facilities managers on issues they have had with their projects and maintenance requirements, while also enjoying an opportunity to view their amazing collections. All our hosts will have major refurbishments or newly built museums to show us, and it will be just as important to learn what not to do, as to learn what they have done well.

Do make sure to sign up for the conference now, and especially book your hotel room at the conference hotel, the Ritz-Carlton, where John Castle has secured an exceptional deal for us, at less than half the normal price.

I know that many of you are going through tough financial times, but do please try and persuade your bosses that you can learn a great deal from your peers around the world by attending the conference, which will in turn lead to savings in your organisation. Don't forget: one way of demonstrating improvements to your CEO is to join the Benchmarking Group and if not a member already, you can pay to attend this one-day meeting on the Sunday of the conference, which will show you how you can benefit your organisation. The Benchmarking data, which follows trends over many years, has proven extremely valuable to many of us who use it regularly. Not only are we able to demonstrate the trends within our our own organisations, but we can also compare ourselves with other similar cultural organisations over many diciplines and skills.

I am confident that you will find the conference programme justification enough to persuade your organisations to send you to join us this year, and you will be able to demonstrate that good and innovative Facilities Management can definitely contribute to organisational success.

I am looking forward to seeing you all again in September—make sure you are there!

John de Lucy, IAMFA President


The Delaware Art Museum Celebrates Its 100th Anniversary

By Bruce Canter and Molly Keresztury

The Delaware Art Museum was founded in 1912 to honor the life and house the work of world-famous Wilmington illustrator Howard Pyle, who passed away unexpectedly in November 1911. During its first 100 years, the Museum has undergone many changes, both in its art holdings and in the physical plant required to safely house its collections.

The Museum originally had no gallery space of its own, and its works were housed in locations around the City of Wilmington. The Museum has now grown to fill 11 acres and 80,000 square feet in a beautiful building on Wilmington’s historic Kentmere Parkway. Throughout the past century, its permanent collections have also expanded beyond Howard Pyle to include work by other American illustrators, the world’s largest collection of British Pre-Raphaelite art outside the United Kingdom, a prominent collection of work by American artist John Sloan, and works by American masters such as Winslow Homer, Edward Hopper, and Thomas Eakins. The Museum currently houses 12,000 objects in its permanent collection, and its campus includes a sprawling nine-acre sculpture park, four studio art classrooms, a 168-seat auditorium, two executive meeting rooms, a café and a gift shop.

During its first 20 years, the Museum—originally called the Wilmington Society of the Fine Arts—held exhibitions in private homes, in the newly constructed Hotel du Pont, and in the Wilmington Public Library. In 1935, the family of Samuel Bancroft—a wealthy textile industrialist—donated Mr. Bancroft’s rare collection of British Pre-Raphaelite art and 11 acres of rolling countryside near Kentmere Parkway with the proviso that a museum be built on the site to house the Bancroft Collection. As a testament to both the dedication and generosity of the Society and its community supporters, $350,000 was raised during the Great Depression for museum construction and its endowment. In June 1938, the newly named Delaware Art Center opened to the public with galleries devoted to the British Pre-Raphaelites, Howard Pyle and his students, and a growing collection of American art.

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Caption: The Delaware Art Museum’s original building under construction, 1938.

With its core collections now established, the Center declared a more ambitious mission: to collect, preserve, and interpret fine arts for the benefit of the public; and to become a leading arts center for the region. A number of groups occupied its spaces, held meetings, and participated in the Center’s programs and studio art classes. Thanks to a generous donation from H. Fletcher Brown, the Center constructed studio art spaces and classrooms to expand their educational programming and community outreach. The new education wing opened in 1956. 

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Caption: The Delaware Art Museum expands to add studio art space, 1957.

During the 1950s and 1960s, the Delaware Art Center’s collections continued to grow in size and influence, attracting the attention of Helen Farr Sloan, widow of premier American artist John Sloan. Mrs. Sloan eventually donated over 5,000 works of art to the Center, including the preeminent collection of her late husband’s oeuvre and archive, making the Delaware Art Center the leading repository for the study of John Sloan.

In 1972, the Center was one of the first institutions of its size to be awarded accreditation by the American Association of Museums. Shortly after achieving accreditation, the Delaware Art Center was renamed the Delaware Art Museum, to reflect the growing strength of its collections, programs, and constituency. It was clear that the Center had evolved into an institution of national and international importance.

In more recent years, two major expansions of the Museum were undertaken to accommodate the ever-growing collections, exhibitions, and programs. In 1987, the Museum opened the 20,000-square-foot Pamela and Lammot duPont Copeland Wing. This much-needed addition doubled the exhibition space and saw the dedication of an expanded library named in honor of Helen Farr Sloan. The following year, the Museum won the prestigious Delaware Governor’s Award for the Arts, in honor of its contributions to the civic and artistic life of the community.

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Caption: The Delaware Art Museum undergoes a renovation, 1987.

With the arrival of the twenty-first century, the Museum began expanding its collections again, this time with a focus on contemporary works from masters such as Robert Motherwell, George Segal, and Jim Dine. In the early 2000s, the Museum began planning another expansion to house its collections, exhibitions, and programs. The newly reconfigured Delaware Art Museum, designed by Boston-based Ann Beha Architects, opened in 2005. It featured not only new galleries, but the nine-acre Copeland Sculpture Garden—the first in the region—which also houses a popular labyrinth for outdoor contemplation.

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Caption: The Delaware Art Museum undergoes expansion and renovation, 2005.

With its increasing presence throughout the state and the region, the Delaware Art Museum continues to strengthen both its collections and its commitment to the community. From November 2011 through December 2013, the Delaware Art Museum is celebrating its Centennial with a variety of special exhibitions and community events, as well as an ambitious $10-million fundraising campaign.

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Caption: The Delaware Art Museum’s front entrance, 2011.

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Caption: The Museum’s back entrance, 2011.

The Museum’s charge in the coming millennium is to continue its mission as an essential resource for all, and to advocate for the rightful place of art in strengthening our society. As the collections continue to grow, and its exhibitions and programs continue to unfold, the Delaware Art Museum remains committed to the ever-more relevant and powerful vision of its thoughtful founders of a century ago: to connect the community through and with art.

The Delaware Art Museum is pleased to co-host the International Association of Museum Facility Administrators in September 2012. We look forward to introducing our stunning collections and outstanding building to facility administrators from around the world, while hosting the IAMFA annual general meeting. Learn more about the Delaware Art Museum at

Bruce Canter is Director of Operations at the Delaware Art Museum in Wilmington, Delaware, and Molly Keresztury is Manager of Marketing and Public Relations.


Hagley Museum and Library

By Michael Downs

When you visit Hagley Museum and Library, it quickly becomes evident how unique this institution really is. Hagley is situated along a mile and a half of the Brandywine River, on a property encompassing more than 235 acres. Those attending the 2012 IAMFA Annual Conference will experience this remarkable facility firsthand.

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Caption: Birkenhead Powder Mill on the Brandywine River.

Hagley Museum is where the story of the du Pont family and their company begins. The Museum features the original du Pont black-powder mills, family estate, and gardens. Visitors can explore the du Pont family home, built in 1803. The Georgian-style residence reflects the tastes of the five generations of du Ponts who lived there. Empire, Federal, and Victorian furniture is highlighted in various room settings. Located in front of the du Pont home is a restored nineteenth-century garden, French in design, reflecting E.I. du Pont's love of botany and gardening.

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Caption: The du Pont family home and garden.

Hagley also tells the story of the people who worked for the DuPont Company in the nineteenth century—how they lived, and how their lifestyles changed over the course of a century which introduced new machinery and new production methods to the workplace.  On Workers’ Hill, a typical workers’ community has been restored. A visit to the Gibbons House there reveals the lifestyle of a powder-yard foreman’s family, including the foods they ate, and the furniture and conveniences they acquired. The school attended by workers’ children is nearby, with lesson demonstrations that show how children were taught before there was a public school in the area.

At the base of Workers’ Hill, a restored machine shop from the 1880s offers an exciting picture of change in the workplace. The din of whirring belts and grinding metal replaced the quiet, painstaking hand-tooling of earlier artisans. Volunteer demonstrators explain the machines in operation.

The powder yard offers an in-depth look at the making of DuPont’s original product, black powder. At the Eagle Roll Mill, a guide provides a particularly dramatic demonstration as the energy of the river’s falling water turns the two eight-ton iron wheels that mix the powder’s sulfur, saltpeter and charcoal.

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Caption: Hagley Library.

Hagley’s Library houses a major research collection of manuscripts and archives, photographs, pamphlets, and books documenting the history of American business and technology. Pierre S. du Pont founded the research library as the Longwood Library in 1953. Eight years later, the Library was merged with the Hagley Museum and transferred to the site of the original DuPont Company powder works. Its early collections document industrialization in the United States, with a particular focus on the Mid-Atlantic region: home to many leading national firms in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. 

The Library’s current holdings comprise 37,000 linear feet in the Manuscripts and Archives Department, two million items in the Pictorial Collections Department, and 280,000 printed volumes in the Imprints Department. The Digital Archives Department has more than 220,000 items, and has also created several state-of-the-art interactive digital exhibits. Future digital projects are focused on creating infrastructure for the long-term  (50+ years) storage of digital records.

As a member of the Independent Research Libraries Association, the Library serves scholars from this country and abroad. The Library includes the Center for the History of Business, Technology, and Society, which coordinates Hagley’s interactions with the world of scholarship in the fields of American economic, business, and technological history. A scholars-in-residence program, competitive fellowships, seminars, and historical conferences make the Center the intellectual heart of Hagley.

Since the site was at one time the largest gunpowder manufacturer in the world, we will be starting off your visit to our site with a BANG!!

The tours you will take when visiting Hagley will include three locations: exterior projects, the collection storage facility, and the Library with its two major system upgrades.


On the outdoor tour, we will be giving a presentation of the restoration work done on one of our historical dams. The photograph below shows the deteriorated condition of one of our four dams.

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Caption: Dam spillway face in need of repairs.

Following an unprecedented five summer flood events at Hagley, the newly installed concrete face of the dam saw the wooden wear face finally completed.

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Caption: Newly installed wooden dam face.

Your tour will include a visit to the original powder yard site, where you can observe the process used to blend the three components of gunpowder. The process effectively harnesses the river’s water power, and uses it to power sixteen tons of iron. A demonstration of an early powder tester will show how the du Pont salesmen proved that their powder was superior to others. A tour of our 1886 machine shop will allow you to see where powder-yard operators manufactured their own machine parts.

Collections Storage

Our collections storage building was constructed in 1948 to hold the DuPont Company’s corporate records. Hagley acquired the 30,000-square-foot building from the DuPont Company in 1994. A project in 1996–1997 built a temperature- and humidity-controlled space with limited storage (3,000 sq. ft.) for some of the Library’s collections.

The rest of the building sat under-utilized until a 2007 refurbishment of the entire building. The addition of a rooftop desiccant wheel system, humidity was brought under control. A separate unit provides chilled water for the centralized HVAC, which maintains temperature in the various rooms. Tours of this area will show you the newly installed ventilated room used by conservation staff. The 10’ x 16’ room is normally used as a spray booth, and was manufactured by Global Finishing Solutions. The tour will continue through our collections storage building, shared by the Museum and Library.

Library Systems Upgrades

The Library celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2011. Two major improvements were recently made to the infrastructure. The first was installation of an ECARO-25® Clean Agent Fire Suppression System in the library stacks. Fike's ECARO-25 system requires 20 percent less clean agent per cubic foot/meter than HFC-227 or FM-200® fire-suppression systems, and an incredible savings in clean agent over FK-5-1-12—resulting in significant cost benefits. 

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Caption: The ECARO-25 Clean Agent Fire Suppression System.

The system installation provided its own unique set of problems related to working in an area that contains collections items. These included collections security, fabricating and installing both piping and detection systems, testing the space for containment of  a certain percentage of FM-25, integration of the previous detection system with the new system, and installing smoke dampers and fan controls for the HVAC system.

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Caption: Smoke damper installation.

Each of the aisles needed to be piped, so that if the FM-25 discharges, each aisle has the proper concentration of gas for fire suppression.

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Caption: Discharge piping aimed toward aisles.

The boilers that supply hot water for the Library’s HVAC conditioning systems were recently replaced. We had two 1-million BTU boilers that were 20 years old and needed some reconditioning, just to keep them going. 

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Caption: Old Boiler to be replaced.

We decided to replace the old units with four Weil Mclain high-efficiency boilers. Two boilers are rated for 750 BTUs; the other two are rated at 550 BTUs. Each boiler would be staged in order to meet varying demands on the system. They are able to modulate from 20 to 100 percent, thus allowing greater efficiency and cost savings. Since we could not have any interruption in hot water supply for the building, the installation was done in two stages. 

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Caption: New boiler with water storage tank.

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Caption: New Weil-McLain boilers.

Once installation was completed, the boilers’ performance did indeed live up to their ninety-four percent combustion-efficiency rating. It was nice to get a call from our business office asking what we had done to make such a noticeable change in our natural gas consumption.

The above are just a few of the larger upgrades that we have recently made. As you can imagine, having a site that has more than 60 buildings that vary in historical significance, size and condition, provides many interesting challenges. 

The Service Division is comprised of 30 people who are grouped by their job responsibility: Administration, Building Maintenance, Grounds and Residence Garden group. The Division is responsible for providing all building and grounds maintenance and repairs, along with miscellaneous maintenance and service requests from other departments within Hagley. We provide all logistical support for all of the institution’s special events. Hagley puts on two major fireworks shows each year in June, as well as an antique car show in September that features over 550 participating cars.

Michael Downs is Director of Facilities at the Hagley Museum and Library, and can be reached at


Architect of the Capitol Begins Conservation of Statue of Freedom

On April 2, 2012, the Architect of the Capitol began regular cleaning, maintenance, and restoration of the Statue of Freedom atop the Capitol Dome.

“Our mission is to protect and preserve the awe-inspiring facilities and works of art entrusted to our care, and the Statue of Freedom is one of the most visible, symbolic, and treasured pieces of art in the Capitol collection. We’re going to make sure that she continues to inspire all who see her for generations to come by undertaking this important restoration work,” said Architect of the Capitol Stephen T. Ayers, FAIA, LEED AP.

This work was coordinated to be completed at the same time as the ongoing Dome skirt restoration project, to reduce any impact on Congressional operations. (For more on the Dome restoration project, see the Winter 2011–2012 issue of Papyrus, also available online.) A scaffold will be erected to provide access to the Statue. Because of this overhead work, Capitol Dome tours were suspended from April 2 through May 13, 2012.

This maintenance and conservation involved washing the Statue, inspecting and documenting the condition of its interior and exterior surfaces, performing repairs as necessary, replacing the caulking or epoxy fills as required, sharpening the lightning points, and reapplying a protective coating. The Architect of the Capitol also will inspect and repair the Statue’s cast iron pedestal.

All work on the Statue of Freedom was scheduled for completion by mid-May 2012.

Protecting the Historic Thomas Jefferson Building from the Footsteps of Time

By Gregory H. Simmons and Christopher Miles

The Architect of the Capitol (AOC) and the Library of Congress (LOC) both serve Congress, and not only have long, rich histories of their own, but also have histories that are intertwined. The AOC can trace its roots to the laying of the cornerstone for the U.S. Capitol in 1793. The LOC was established by an act of Congress in 1800 and, until 1897, was housed in the Capitol Building. The AOC is charged with the care and maintenance of all Congressional facilities, including several buildings housing more than 151 million items—including books, manuscripts, maps, films, and sound recordings—which are cared for by the Librarian of Congress. The Library buildings that are most recognized are situated on Capitol Hill just steps from the Capitol Building. These are the Thomas Jefferson Building, the John Adams Building, and the James Madison Memorial Building.

The AOC and LOC also have related missions that are designed to preserve America’s heritage for future generations. In addition, these organizations are led by two men who are passionate about the preservation of irreplaceable treasures. Because of this—following the opening of the Capitol Visitor Center and the LOC’s new Visitors Experience in December 2008—Architect of the Capitol, Stephen T. Ayers, FAIA, LEED AP, and Librarian of Congress, Dr. James H. Billington, became concerned about the impact of increased foot traffic on the architectural flooring of the Thomas Jefferson Building. 

The Jefferson Building—named for former President Thomas Jefferson—was completed in 1897. After the Capitol was set on fire in 1814 by the British, destroying the contents of its small library, Jefferson offered his personal library as a replacement. The Building was designed by architects Paul Pelz and John Smithmeyer. After construction was transferred to the Army Corps of Engineers in 1892, the work was directed by Edward Pearce Casey, who orchestrated a legion of artists and sculptors to decorate the inside and outside of the building.

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Caption: The Great Hall of the Thomas Jefferson Building, Library of Congress.

The Library of Congress estimates that it welcomes approximately 3,000 visitors per day. In addition to concerns about the potential impact of increased foot traffic on floor wear, there was also concern regarding public safety, due to an increase in the number of falls reported on the marble stairwells surrounding the Great Hall.

To address these issues, Ayers commissioned a floor-wear study that looked at visitor traffic from June 2009 to January 2010. The study was conducted by ENTECH Engineering, an engineering firm with extensive experience assessing facility conditions; John Milner Associates (JMA), specialists in architectural preservation; and Direct Dimensions, a company with expertise in laser scanning for dimensional analysis.

The study analyzed the materials used to construct the floor, benchmarked floor wear, reviewed floor care procedures, and provided recommendations to mitigate future wear. The study also focused on the mosaic and marble floors in three areas of the historic Jefferson Building: the West Main Pavilion; the exhibit and meeting rooms adjacent to the ground, first, and second floors; and the marble stairs to and from the ground, first, second, and gallery levels.

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Caption: Marble Staircase in the Great Hall.

Study Approach

The consultants approached the study by identifying all of the floor materials and benchmarking existing floor wear with lasers to gauge the level of wear on each tread and each portion of the floor. They also interviewed AOC and LOC staff who are responsible for floor care, to evaluate what impact their efforts might have on the floors, and to determine the procedures currently used to maintain the floors.

It was discovered that 16 types of stone were used to construct the floors and stairs of the Jefferson Building. Differences in material density and compressive strength are known properties that affect the wear of the material. Materials with higher density and compressive strength are more resistant to wear. The materials used in the Jefferson Building have compressive strengths that range from 11,000 pounds per square inch (psi) to 25,000 psi.

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Caption: Marble Chart for floors in the Thomas Jefferson Building.

The consultants benchmarked floor wear using two types of laser scanners. The scans determined the amount of accumulated wear on the floors and stairs since the building opened 113 years ago. This baseline data is being used to provide a functional benchmark that can be repeated at set intervals to determine the amount of wear to specific areas over specific time periods.

The LDI/FARO scanner logged detailed information about the stairs’ dimensions, and included fine-scale measurement of tread wear that identified patterns. The accuracy of the scans was .006” over a seven-foot length. The SURPHASER scanner captured larger scale data and images over wider floor areas. Accuracy was .01” over a 45-foot length.

To further understand why damage was occurring, and to provide recommended procedures to minimize future deterioration, JMA interviewed staff within the LOC’s and AOC’s operating divisions. At the LOC, JMA talked with the Visitors Services Division, which provides tours to visitors; Public Programs, which coordinates special events; the Interpretive Programs Office, which designs exhibit displays and exhibit layouts; Security, which is responsible for screening visitors; and the Custodial Service Vendor, which is responsible for floor cleaning. In addition to interviewing LOC staff, JMA interviewed members of the AOC’s Facility Maintenance and Construction Divisions.  JMA then compared current floor-protection procedures used by the various groups to procedures used by maintenance personnel and contractors in other Congressional buildings, including the U.S. Capitol, the Capitol Visitor Center, the House Office Buildings, and the Senate Office Buildings.  


The area with the most wear was the interior ground floor entrance, with more than one-quarter inch of wear. This entrance is heavily used by facility support staff. In addition, there is selective erosion where the body of the marble is wearing faster than the veins and inclusions in the marble.

The marble stairs show the most wear, with some stair treads worn down more than one-half inch from the original surface level. The stairs most used by visitors are the two from the ground floor to the first floor, followed by the stairs to the Minerva mosaic, which go from the second floor to the gallery level to overlook the Main Reading Room.

It is interesting to note that there is more wear when people travel up the stairs than when they travel down. Stair erosion is consistent in traffic paths near handrails. The deviation from one step to the next was within the acceptable limit of three-eighths of an inch.

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Caption: Side view of wear patterns on the marble stairs.

A safety concern would arise, however, if a visitor travelled sideways across a step; therefore, visitors were reminded to travel adjacent to a handrail at all times when climbing and descending the stairs. When the study was completed, it revealed that there were wide variations of floor care within Congressional buildings; however, all agreed that there are four critical stages of floor care. 

These are: 

(1)               Preventive: control dust, dirt, and grit.

(2)               Routine: apply floor protection regularly.

(3)               Periodic: provide extra attention to areas of increased traffic.

(4)               Restorative: strip, recoat, and hone floors when required.

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Caption: Wear patterns: up vs. down.

Summary of Recommendations

Because grit is the prime wear factor for the floors, most floor cleaning in the Jefferson Building is concerned with reducing or eliminating grit. The study recommended using walk-off mats as the most effective means of reducing grit. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) recommends that, to achieve 100 percent grit removal, a 25-foot mat is required.

Another major cause of wear is damage done by stanchions, furniture, and cart casters. Because stanchions are a portable solution to control crowds and queuing, they are widely used in public buildings such as the Jefferson Building. One of the keys to their effectiveness is that they are heavy—typically 35 pounds each—thus making them difficult to move. As a result, staff would often drag them across the floor, causing serious damage. One solution is to make stanchion dollies readily available to staff, in order to help them move the stanchions. 

Most special events require furniture such as tables and chairs that are pushed across the floors. Damage may be mitigated by using chairs composed of materials that are less likely to damage the floors as they are slid out from the tables.

Every department in the LOC, and every AOC maintenance shop, uses various carts to transport materials. The average cart casters are often too hard and can contain grit. To reduce wear and tear on the floors, it was recommended that all cart casters be replaced with extra-soft rubber wheels. In addition, it was advised that the carts be rolled over the walk-off mats prior to entering architecturally sensitive spaces.

The final suggestion was to consider changing pedestrian traffic flow periodically to balance wear patterns over time. For example, the Interpretive Programs Office staff could set up temporary exhibits such that traffic patterns will wear floor areas more evenly. The Security and Emergency Preparedness staff could change the entrances and exits to the buildings to balance the wear in more critical areas.


In 2011, an expert team of AOC and LOC employees was assembled to implement the report’s recommendations. The team developed a spreadsheet detailing every recommendation, the specific action needed, the action owner, and the anticipated timeline. The team worked together to quickly implement operational changes, such as deploying walk-off mats in critical locations, and switching to special coatings and finishes. Other recommendations that require more time or resources are being monitored monthly by the team and AOC and LOC senior executives. As the recommendations are being implemented and monitored, the full impact of the improvements will be captured when the floors and steps are periodically remeasured. 

Whether measuring the amount of floor wear or monitoring cleaning procedures, the AOC and the LOC continue to fulfill their missions to preserve the historic buildings and collections within their care for generations to come. 

Gregory H. Simmons, P.E., CFM is Superintendent for Library Buildings and Grounds, Architect of the Capitol. Christopher Miles, P.E. is Assistant Superintendent for Library Buildings and Grounds, Architect of the Capitol.


Benchmarking: Are We Still Relevant?

By Stacey Wittig

Benchmarking is a key part of continuous improvement and strategic planning. Many experts recommend that you benchmark processes upfront, and measure performance over the years. Others, however, have asked, “Are we still relevant?” Is the data collected year after year still meaningful in today’s ever-changing facility environment?

To answer these questions, we decided to ask IAMFA benchmarking participants.

“I use the benchmarking information to compare and justify all sorts of facilities costs, as well as identify where we can do better,” says Joyce Koker, Facilities Manager at the Harley-Davidson Museum. “Every year I take the results for like-sized U.S. museums and prepare a presentation for my staff, colleagues and museum leadership team.”

“It is very important for the National Library of Scotland to be able to demonstrate that it receives value for money in all its contracts— especially the FM contracts, which are some of the largest contracts the Library has. By participating in the IAMFA Benchmarking exercise, I think the Library can demonstrate that it is meeting this requirement…,” notes Jack Plumb of the National Library of Scotland.

IAMFA benchmarking is used to measure performance, using specific indicators such as area maintained per FTE, cost per area cleaned, utility costs per area, and trouble-call cycle time. The result is a metric of performance that helps FM administrators evaluate numerous aspects of their processes in relation to others.

Peer Group Survey

To ensure that the survey remains relevant, the IAMFA Benchmarking Steering Committee meets monthly to review recommendations for changes to survey questions. Through this process, new questions are added and questions that have lost value over the years are scrapped. New questions were formulated this year to gather composting data, show variables in temperature and RH set points, and compare failure rates of fire-suppression systems.

“We use the data from IAMFA and other benchmarking reports to see where we fall on the continuum of operational and maintenance spending,” says Kendra Gastright of the Smithsonian Institute. “The IAMFA benchmarking survey is truly useful, because we are able to make comparisons with extremely like facilities.”

Tony Young, Vice-President of Facilities Planning and Operations at the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, agrees. “Our President and Board are frequently asking us to benchmark our department to determine if we are cost-effective. IAMFA allows us to benchmark against our peers, as opposed to general office buildings (BOMA).”

“I grab the benchmarking report several times a year to help answer questions about our budget requests to headquarters,” says Gastright.

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Caption:  Patrick Jones from the Art Institute of Chicago addresses benchmarking participants at the Benchmarking Practices and Learning Workshop in Auckland, New Zealand

“IAMFA Benchmarking allows the Library to identify where it is on parallel with its peers, and where opportunity for continuous improvement exists. It also helps us to identify trends underway in the cultural institution arena,” explains Charon Johnson of the Library of Congress. Identifying trends is important to IAMFA members, and that is why hot-topic discussions are some of the most valued parts of the Best Practices and Learning Workshop.

Current Facility Issues Discussed

Young adds, “The benchmarking session at the IAMFA conference is a wonderful opportunity to review the benchmarking survey and openly discuss museum facility issues with peers.”

“Whilst not treating benchmarking statistics as a league table, by examining these results one can see where further investment can be made to achieve an improved performance. This is why it is so important to attend the annual benchmarking workshop, where colleagues can explain how they achieved an improved performance,” says Plumb.

Guy Larocque of the Canadian Museum of Civilization concurs. “The annual Benchmarking Workshop is the most useful exercise in networking with other museum Facility Managers, to share information and come back with valuable lessons that I may apply to my organization.”

“When I think of the IAMFA benchmarking process, I see an active peer group that is willing to share their experiences to help others,” says Keith McClanahan of Facility Issues. “The benchmarking process helps identify who may have some of those ideas, but it is the group’s willingness to share that provides the value.” McClanahan heads Facility Issues, the benchmarking consultancy with which IAMFA partners to facilitate the study.


To acquire meaningful data, definitions must be set. Some the best banter at Steering Committee meetings happens when members try to agree on definitions based on jargon from three continents. This year all reference to “Custodial” changed to “Janitorial” because in the U.K., “custodial” refers to incarceration. Participants are asked to refer to the definitions that are published online as they input their data.

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Caption: Marie-Pierre Marchè from the Grand Palais in Paris at the 2011 Benchmarking Practices and Learning Workshop.

Importance of Benchmarking Year after Year

“By participating in the IAMFA benchmarking exercise on a regular basis, the Library can measure whether changes made within the Library's operations have been successful or otherwise. This is especially relevant when capital investments have been made to improve efficiency: that savings can be demonstrated,” says Plumb.

“This year will be our fourth year participating, and the trend information for our facility individually, as well as all participants as a whole, gets more interesting and relevant every year,” adds Koker.

“The survey report allows me to compare our own building’s annual operating and energy trends,” says Larocque, who also co-managed the design and construction of the Canadian War Museum. “And it facilitates my search for other organizations that are top performers, which I may then approach to better understand what practices that they follow in order to achieve their results.”

“The annual IAMFA benchmarking reports have provided me with solid and verifiable data to present to our Museum’s senior management and to our major funder, the Government of Canada,” says Larocque. “[We] have proven … that our buildings are being managed very cost-effectively and with operations running at optimal levels.”

“Senior management and the federal department responsible for museums ask for a copy of the benchmarking report every year, as it serves as a base of metrics in determining future budgets for operations and capital projects,” Larocque notes.

“In a nutshell,” he addes, “IAMFA benchmarking has been most beneficial to my organization over the past twelve years.”

Stacey Wittig is the Marketing Director for Facility Issues, located in Flagstaff, Arizona. She can be reached at


Lean Leadership in Facility Management

By Stephanie Wurtzel and Judie Cooper

No matter the size of your FM organization, lean leadership can be beneficial. Smithsonian facility managers have discovered that they have already been using lean leadership without recognizing it.

“Lean” is one of the most commonly misused terms in the facility management lexicon, yet it is a favorite adjective of many facilities supervisors when trying to explain process improvements—and it is easy to see why. Lean is defined differently within various organizations. For facility leaders, lean is about increasing productivity through continuous improvement and constructive leadership. Lean organizations are indisputably more efficient, more accurate—and, most tantalizingly, more successful. If you desire less complication and more productivity within your organization, lean principles are the ticket.

That being said, although the term has been adopted into the general vocabulary of the facility management world, few people can actually define it. Even more challenging for facility managers (FMs) is describing how to achieve lean methods within their organizations. Lean knowledge is too valuable to simply be used as a descriptor of potential success: it is not just about understanding the concept and potential; it is about implementing the concept for improved organizational performance. It is time for FMs to become lean leaders within their organizations. This begins by not just talking lean, but walking lean, too.

If facilities leaders are to reap all of the benefits a lean system has to offer, they must first understand its two principles: continuous improvement and respect for people. Most FMs are superficially familiar with the first principle—continuous improvement—when they think about eliminating waste. Rarely, however, do FM leaders know how waste is identified in a lean organization, or what to do with it once it is found. The second principle, respect for people, is frequently misunderstood. This principle is more dynamic than simply being courteous, and strikes at the very heart of what strong leadership truly is. If these two principles are learned and, in turn, practiced, they create organizations that are strong both internally and externally.

Lean Pillar One: Continuous Improvement

The first principle of lean, continuous improvement can be implemented in many ways within an FM organization; however, the most important to execute is eliminating waste. You can begin by considering the categories of waste that may be slowing your organization down.

Since Taiichi Ohno first defined lean waste categories for Toyota in the 1980s (Ohno, 1988), lean authorities have expanded upon Ohno’s work to define eight waste categories (Emiliani, 1998). Today, the eight major categories of waste come together in the fitting acronym “downtime”.


·                     Defects

·                     Over production

·                     Waiting

·                     Non-value-added behaviors

·                     Transportation

·                     Inventory

·                     Motion

·                     Excess Processing

At the Smithsonian’s Office of Facilities Management and Reliability (OFMR), problems with the third waste category, “waiting,” are clearly identifiable. Due to ongoing capital projects and aged facilities in the 19 museums and nine research campuses, Smithsonian FM personnel must constantly wait for delays related to purchasing, delivery, security and restricted access. In addition, OFMR often waits to move collection items that are very unique in nature, because the correct equipment is unavailable.

Recently, moving Chuck Berry’s famous red Cadillac into storage had to wait until space was cleared and moving equipment became available.  Because the Smithsonian is open to the public 364 days a year, many OFMR tasks must also wait due to the difficulty of  scheduling intensive tasks during the relatively limited off-hours. Idle time is not only frustrating to facility managers; it can also be problematic for the Smithsonian’s fragile living collections. Animals at the Smithsonian’s National Zoological Park and the living botanical collections of Smithsonian Gardens must avoid waiting, as it can present a major hazard to the health of these collections.

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Caption:  Chuck Berry’s Famous Red Cadillac.

Lean Pillar Two: Respect for People

The second pillar of lean principles, respect for people, is as critical as continuous improvement. Practicing continuous improvement alone will make an organization successful—but only in the short term. Making an organization lean requires that the system being created be sustainable. This sustainability is achieved when practicing respect for people and seeking continuous improvement occur simultaneously.

This second pillar is frequently misunderstood or overlooked, because respect for people transcends common courtesy. Respecting others is not so much about being nice to one another as it is about leading in a way that encompasses a colleague’s ideas, perspectives, and needs. Lean leadership means that the leader sets the behavioral example and standards for the whole organization. Although this may seem  obvious, not practicing this principle is the main cause of non-value-added behaviors (Emiliani, 1998), such as sarcasm, frustration, practical jokes, dominance, and gossip.  Evaluating how “non-value added behaviors” affect your organization is an important step when planning for continuous improvement.  If FMs are focused on non-value-added behaviors such as blame and judgment when a problem arises, they will not be able to clearly see how to fix the system’s true problem.

To avoid these tensions, FM leaders should practice the second lean principle by leveraging the collaborative talents of their workforce. When trying to facilitate an organizational change, FMs should practice what lean leaders like Ohno call kaizen. Kaizen translates as “continous improvement”, but the core definition contains three principles based on respect for people. Kaizen’s three principles are:

1)                  Process and results versus results only

2)                  Total system focus versus functional focus

3)                  Non-blaming/non-judgemental versus blame

(Emiliani, Stec, Grasso and Stodder, 2007)

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Caption:  Two Components for a Successful Lean Leadership Program: Respect for People and Continuous Improvement

If a large organizational change is being considered, hosting a kaizen event is an effective way of encouraging employees to contribute their perspective and ideas for improvement. Regardless of whether or not an idea is chosen, employees will understand that they have other channels to talk with leadership. OFMR leaders are masters of collaborative decision-making. OFMR Director Nancy Bechtol often refers to the organization’s decision process by stating, “If we don’t all get on the train together, we can’t move forward.” OFMR employees know that their ideas are considered in the decision process. This philosophy creates and sustains trust within an organization, while also fostering positive attitudes and good working relationships.

Leadership based on respect for people and collaborative decision-making highlights the need for relationship management and communication within the organization. Respect for people is a complex principle of lean leadership that requires daily practice and a strong role model. To be a true lean student, you must understand that greeting employees and encouragement is only the tip of the iceberg. Faster decision-making by a few managers may seem to be more efficient, but does not reflect a systems focus. To successfully implement organizational initiatives, the impact of an organization’s processes, results, structure and attitudes must be considered.


Introducing and adopting lean methods into an FM organization requires challenging old styles of thinking and operating. Yet, when correctly practiced, lean efforts pay off by bringing a higher level of balance to the organization. Great lean leaders are great lean educators and role models. As you begin to introduce lean methods into your organization, remember that operating lean means continuously practicing incremental improvement.

Despite originating within the manufacturing industry, lean has had a positive impact on fields as diverse as maintenance, construction, and logistics—all directly related to the FM profession. FM teams will find that operating lean brings a higher level of productivity to the table, and a sharper alignment with organizational goals. For additional information, visit the Lean Enterprise Institute (, or refer to Practical Lean Leadership: A Strategic Leadership Guide for Executives or Kaizen Heart and Mind: A Collection of Insightful Essays on Lean Leadership (Volume 1) by M.L. Emiliani (The CLBM, LLC Wethersfield, Conn., USA).

Additional Lean Reading Materials

Emiliani, M.L., Dave Stec, Lawrence Grasso and James Stodder. Better Thinking, Better Results: Case Study and Analysis of an Enterprise-Wide Lean Transformation. Wethersfield, CT: The Center for Lean Business Management, LLC, 2007.

Emiliani, M.L. "Lean Behaviors", Management Decision, Vol. 36, No. 9, 1998. pp. 615-631.

Ohno, Taiichi. Toyota production system: Beyond large-scale production. Cambridge, MA: Productivity Press, 1988.


Stephanie Wurtzel is a Visiting Student with the Smithsonian Institution. Her current research involves exploring how technology affects the Facility Management world. Stephanie received her Master of Science in Technology Management in 2011, and is now pursuing a graduate degree in Museum Studies at Johns Hopkins University.

Judie Cooper, CFM is a Facility Management Analyst at the Smithsonian Institution. Judie is responsible for facilities training, identifying and implementing best practices, and organizational performance-improvement initiatives. She received her CFM in 2009, and is the current President of the Museums/Cultural Institutions Council of IFMA, as well as being an active IAMFA member.


Green vs. Sustainable

By Rebecca T. Ellis

The biggest buzz in building design and construction over the past decade has been sustainability. This word is often used interchangeably with the term green to represent environmentally-friendly facility projects. Many museums have made sustainable design a cornerstone of their new construction and/or major renovation projects. Moving forward, in fact, it seems that sustainability is becoming the expected norm for museums.

Although an ever-increasing number of green features are being designed into museum infrastructures, as well as green processes and procedures incorporated into museum construction, a green project does not necessarily result in a sustainable museum. The key to long-term, meaningful sustainability is maintainability; i.e., a museum’s ability to maintain and operate the green features and systems throughout the life of the museum.

What is Green?

The following are examples of the myriad green features often considered for incorporation and/or implementation within a major design and construction project. Which features are included in any particular project result from determinations made by the owner and design team of appropriateness and best value for the institution, depending on the project’s location, budget, and mission.

Minimizing Environmental Disruption during Design and Construction

·         Use of recycled materials

·         Use of local resources (materials and people)

·         Use of renewable resources

·         Recycling construction waste

·         Avoiding construction on undeveloped land

Minimizing Resources Required to Own and Operate the Museum

·         Energy efficiency

·         Local replacement parts and services

Incorporating Static Green Systems

·         Windows

·         Roofs

·         Light fixtures

·         Carpeting

·         Paint

Incorporating Dynamic Green Systems

·         Heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems

-          Demand-based ventilation

§  Carbon dioxide concentration

§  Occupant counts

§  Time-of-day scheduling

-          Demand-based temperature control

§  Variable air volume

§  Variable-supply air temperature

·         Lighting controls

-          Occupancy sensors

-          Daylight control

·         Automated plumbing fixtures

-          Toilets

-          Faucets

·         Domestic hot water

-          Solar heat

-          Heat recovery

·         Renewable electricity supply

-          Solar photovoltaics

-          Wind

·         Green roofs

For the most part, Minimizing Environmental Disruption during Design and Construction is the only category that can be considered project-related alone. Once design and construction are complete, the museum can claim success in these areas of sustainability. For the other categories, however, the design and construction process is only the first step in achieving sustainability. Once the new systems and/or features are installed and put into operation, it is critical that they be maintained properly in order to achieve their desired sustainable performance.

Because green features are—almost by definition—new and sometimes more complex than their traditional counterparts, maintenance requirements will not necessarily be intuitive to future building operators. As such, in order to be as sustainable as possible, the design and construction process must include consideration of the future maintainability of the new components and systems. Without appropriate maintenance planning, documentation, and tools, the green features incorporated into new design and construction projects will not be sustainable. In fact, these same green features may become liabilities, resulting in more energy consumption and higher rates of replacement—and/or abandonment—than more traditional projects.

What is Maintainable Design and Construction?

The following are recommendations for design and construction teams to oversee and implement, prior to turning the new building and its green systems over to the museum to operate. These will enhance the potential of green elements to remain sustainable over time.


·         Just because you can do something, doesn’t necessarily mean you should. The more complex a system is, the more difficult it will be to understand and maintain over the multiple generations of future operations and maintenance personnel.

Improving the energy performance of building systems—a major objective of green design—inherently involves increased complexity to better match energy consumption to the needs of the museum on a minute-by-minute basis. This is the key to reducing energy use, without sacrificing the all-important collections environment.

There is a point of diminishing returns, however, at which additional levels of complexity have a minimal impact on energy consumption, while also costing more to maintain than the energy savings they may offer. Exactly where that point lands is different for every system and every museum, and should be carefully considered by the design team in collaboration with the museum owner/operator.

Examples of green features that should be considered in this light are:

-          Building system components—particularly in relation to reliability and the cost and availability of replacement parts

-          Energy-using system control sequences of operation

-          Alarms—only specify alarms that have a response plan associated with them

-          Inter-system communications—how important is it to energy conservation and sustainable operations that HVAC, lighting controls, security, fire alarm, etc., systems “talk” to one another?

·         Carefully consider the difference between a green feature’s “cool factor” and the museum’s actual need for it.


One of the most valuable tools the design and construction team can prepare for the museum owner/operator is project-customized documentation of the green features and systems installed in the building. This goes beyond the equipment operations and maintenance manuals which explain how to maintain, repair, and troubleshoot individual components. The most valuable documentation is system-based and addresses what each system is intended to do; why it was designed the way it was; the components comprising the system; all the different modes of operation; and the keys to maintaining proper operation of the system as a whole.

The following are examples of the type of information that should be included in this type of documentation for each system.

·         Operational Intent

-          Space temperature and relative humidity conditions

-          Light levels

-          Occupancy schedules (staff and public)

-          Seasonal differences, if any

-          Why each system was designed the way it was

·         Schematic Diagrams

-          All system components

-          How they are connected (by piping, ductwork, and/or wiring)

·         Sequences of Operation; i.e., what each component does under varying operating conditions, and how the individual components communicate and coordinate with one another

-          All normal modes of operation

-          Emergency modes of operation

·         System Interactions; i.e., how do systems communicate with each other and why? Examples of systems which may need to talk to each other include, but are not limited to:

-          HVAC

-          Fire alarm

-          Lighting controls

-          Security

·         As-Built Building Plans showing key component locations

-          All system components shown in the Schematic Diagrams

-          Manual shut-off valves

-          Smoke/fire dampers

-          Control system dampers and valves

-          Control system sensors

What is Maintainable – Museum Operations?

The following are recommendations for the museum owner/operator to consider during the design and construction process, in preparation for long-term sustainable operation of the new building systems. The museum needs to have an operating plan in place, as well as staff trained and ready to go immediately upon completion of construction.

It is critical that the museum understand that new buildings do not run themselves, even if they have computers controlling each system. Also, day-to-day operations may look different in sustainable buildings than in their traditional counterparts. The following are some key points to operating a green building in a sustainable fashion.

·         Preventive Maintenance

-          All traditional equipment maintenance activities (filters, lubrication, belts, etc.)

-          Control-system sensor calibrations

-          Control-system device operational checks (primarily valves and dampers)

-          Accessibility to all of the equipment requiring maintenance is critical

·         Avoid Trouble Calls

-          Monitor and trend key data available in the system computers for clues regarding performance that is drifting out of control

-          Proactive data analysis

§  Use data to discover trouble spots before the building occupants do

§  Analyze data clues to understand any root causes that need to be addressed

§  Identify wasted energy not otherwise detected

-          Program “smart alarms” to do some of the above for you automatically


Without planning for and implementing a robust maintenance program for a green museum, it is likely to become a Non-Sustainable Green Building. Non-Sustainable Green Buildings can:

·         Cost More to Operate than Traditional Buildings

-          Energy

-          Replacement components

-          Maintenance

·         Perform Worse than Traditional Buildings and Influence Collections Preservation

-          Complex systems overridden to manual operation

-          Quality of unproven new components and systems

-          Equipment life expectancy

The keys to making a green building a sustainable building include:

·         Systems Documentation

·         Tools and Processes for Monitoring and Analyzing System Performance

·         Operator Skill Sets and Training

In summary, in order to achieve a truly sustainable museum, it is critical to focus as much attention on long-term operations as on design and construction.

Rebecca T. Ellis, PE, LEED AP BD+C, CCP, CPMP, CxA is President of Questions & Solutions Engineering Inc. based in Chaska, Minnesota, USA. She can be reached at


Conference Schedule (centre spread)




Smart Chilled Water at the National Portrait Gallery

By Allan Tyrrell and Kevin Dunn

In a well-tuned and stable control loop, the modulated valve position or loop output can be taken as an indication of how well the heating or cooling system is handling its load.

In the case of an air-cooling loop, the position of the chilled-water control valve is determined by the downstream cooling requirement—i.e. the load—but also by the temperature of the chilled water flowing through the cooling coil. Naturally, colder water produces a better cooling effect than warmer water, meaning that the immersion temperature of a coil inevitably affects the degree of valve-opening required.

Conversely, the valve-opening position can be used to determine whether the temperature of the water flowing through the coil is sufficiently cold enough to satisfy the downstream cooling requirement.

Clearly, a cooling valve being held fully open by a control loop, and therefore deemed to be struggling with its load, would benefit from a reduction in the chilled water temperature available to the coil. The opposite also applies, however: a partially open cooling valve indicates that the downstream requirement is being satisfied quite easily with the chilled water temperature currently available from the system's chillers. In which case, the chilled water could actually be warmer!

Engineers at the National Portrait Gallery (NPG) in London are now using this principle to make significant savings to their chilled-water production costs. Chilled water is no longer produced at an arbitrary 6.0˚C irrespective of the load, as is the case in most buildings. Instead, chilled water is only cooled to a temperature that is sufficient to handle the prevailing load conditions. Under this new regime, the chilled water temperature can float anywhere between 6˚ and 12˚C.

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Caption:  The main entrance features banners advertising the current Lucien Freud exhibition.

The Gallery operates two air-cooled chillers, and one water-cooled chiller. Engineers at NPG have developed a new interface for these chillers, and employ the Gallery's Building Management System (BMS) to control the selection and operation of the chillers automatically. Part of this interface is responsible for controlling the variable setpoint of the chilled water temperature.

The BMS at the NPG consists of 25 PLC outstations. All are connected via a high-speed Ethernet/IP network to a central supervisory outstation. Among its many tasks, the supervisory outstation is responsible for collecting the real-time position of all chilled water valves on the system. Armed with this information, decisions are made within the supervisor's software about the chilled-water temperature requirement.

Gallery engineers worked together on a three-month development of software routines and trials to achieve the desired energy-saving results. Although complex in final design, fundamentally, control valves that are more than 85% open are deemed to be working hard, and valves open less than 15% are deemed to be coping well. These two basic conditions are used to initiate a decrease or increase, respectively, in the chilled water temperature produced by the chillers—assisting the valves on one hand, and saving energy on the other.

In the mid-range—i.e., with all valve positions between 20% and 80%—the BMS invokes a slow setback (increase) of the chilled water temperature at a rate of around 1˚C per hour, until eventually one or more valves on the system opens beyond the 80% mark due to the elevated water temperature flowing through the coils. Any valve crossing this 80% threshold causes the chilled-water setback routine to hold at the current setpoint value. This setpoint hold feature continues whenever a valve or valves sit in the 80% to 85% dead-band region.

Similar routines allow the chilled water temperature to rise at a faster rate when the control loops are deemed to be coping easily; i.e., when all valves are only marginally open. Likewise in the mid-range—20% to 80%—options exist for the rate of change in setpoint temperature to be accelerated or decelerated by the combined valve positions.

Image Page 28

Caption:  A single page shot of the BMS. The increased temperature achieved on the chilled water is due to the control valves throttling back. The system is not requiring as much cooling capacity as the 6˚C minimum can provide.
The above thresholds and rates of change are arbitrary values, and all are adjustable within the gallery’s BMS software. These parameters are selected and set to allow the chilled water temperature to rise to a level that maintains the capacity to correct gallery conditions whilst saving on energy usage. The net result is good environmental conditions at minimum cost.

In addition to valve-position data, gallery space alarms are also monitored by the supervisory outstation over the Ethernet/IP network—in particular, high and high-high temperature and relative-humidity alarms. Although an unlikely occurrence, these alarms override the chilled-water setback routines and accelerate the restoration of a cooler chilled-water setpoint, as required.

Despite the robust nature of the Gallery’s BMS network, good practice dictates that the possibility of transmission failure must also be monitored. Software routines exist within the new set-up to watch for these unlikely events, and adjust the setpoint accordingly.

This strategy is similarly deployed on the Low Temperature Hot Water system for heating, ventilation and air conditioning, to control room temperatures via the steam-heated calorifiers within the Gallery.

Allan Tyrrell is Engineering Manager at the National Portrait Gallery in London. Kevin Dunn is BMS Development Engineer at the National Portrait Gallery.


Renovating the Baltimore Museum of Art

By C.L. Taylor

As the Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) approaches its centennial celebration in 2014, the institution has embarked upon an ambitious three-year capital renovation program. Planned improvements will transform galleries, improve the visitor experience, and upgrade buildings systems that are critical to operations and the safekeeping of collections.

“This unprecedented physical transformation is vital to the BMA’s future,” says Director Doreen Bolger. “We want to ensure that the Museum is relevant to future generations of museum-goers and an even greater cultural magnet for the region.”

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Caption:  Aerial View of the Baltimore Museum of Art.

Not Glamorous, But Important

“In the museum world, when you’re prioritizing budgets and expenditures, you want to focus on enhancing the visitor experience and the collections,” says Ken Rock, PE, LEED AP, a senior vice-president with the mechanical/electrical engineering firm of Mueller Associates. “The BMA has done an excellent job, however, of keeping its facilities up to date and running efficiently as well. Ultimately, that helps to ensure the protection of the collections, while also minimizing expenditures for energy and maintenance over the long term.”

Mueller Associates is part of an experienced team, along with the architectural firm of Ziger/Snead, that is responsible for the design of the latest renovations to the BMA. Careful phasing of design and construction is ensuring that the museum can remain open to visitors throughout the process.

“Mueller is one of the consultants on the very talented design team for our $24 million Phase I and Phase II renovation projects,” says Alan Dirican, CFM, MBA, Deputy Director for operations and capital planning for the BMA. “They have the not-so-glamorous but enormously important responsibility for engineering the infrastructure improvements, including the building automation system. The current BAS is about 17 years old and is no longer supported by the manufacturer.

“It has been an easy decision for the museum to request Mueller as one of the design team members,” adds Dirican. “We have had a long and very satisfactory working relationship with them through numerous renovation and expansion projects, chiller upgrades, and other infrastructure improvements over the years. They not only understand the unique requirements of the museum environment, but are also very familiar with our mechanical and electrical systems.”

According to Bob Marino, PE, LEED AP, Mueller Associates has been working with the BMA since the 1970s, engineering more than 40 improvement and new construction projects. The firm served as the mechanical/electrical engineer for the East Wing addition in the early 1980s; the West Wing addition in 1994; the renovation of the Cone Wing; installation of a new chiller; and roof replacements for the Cone Wing, the East Wing, and the Jacobs Building.

”Our knowledge of the intricacies of the HVAC, plumbing, and electrical infrastructure and distribution systems at the BMA enables us to inform the decision-making process for reprogramming spaces, proposing renovations, and determining the cost impact of construction,” says Marino. “With the historical Pope building and the various additions, there is a complicated network of ductwork and pipes woven throughout the Museum. It’s also important to assess the systems on an ongoing basis to ensure continued function and reliability.”

A Unique Facility

The current round of renovations will transform the Contemporary Art Wing with state-of-the-art lighting, a new black-box gallery, and redesigned displays. In the American Wing, nine galleries will be renovated, with highlights including a new showcase for the works of Louis Tiffany, and a gallery dedicated to Maryland artists. The African Art galleries will be reorganized thematically, and will feature new displays of African masks, textiles, and other objects.

Although it will be invisible to visitors, the new BAS is a highlight of the capital improvements. “This is a complete replacement, which will allow for more reliability and control,” says Mueller’s Ken Rock. “The Museum will be able to operate the building much more efficiently.”

Rock also points to the building’s complexity as a challenge in the engineering process. “The BMA is a unique facility,” he says. “Unlike a new building designed from the ground up, this museum has a lot of components added over many years. There are a lot of construction types and styles, and it’s a challenge to get everything to fit and work together, recognizing that there are very strict requirements for power, temperature, and humidity. The infrastructure needs to be reliable, quiet, and invisible—and it must contribute to creating a cohesive, modern building for visitors to enjoy.”

Rock adds that it helps to have extensive knowledge of the BMA building, dating back over four decades. “Our engineers have been in every nook and cranny of that building,” he says. “Over the years, our older engineers have trained our younger engineers and shared that knowledge. It’s an honor for us to work for such a significant cultural institution. The Baltimore Museum of Art draws people from all over the world. We have always enjoyed working with their staff, and look forward to completing this important phase of improvements.”

C.L. Taylor writes about architecture and engineering for Capstone Communications.


2012 IAMFA Annual European Meeting

By Jack Plumb

Paris in the spring, the mercury pushing past 20ºC (68ºF)—could it get any better? Well, for the 14 British and American IAMFA members who joined French colleagues in Paris on March 23 and 24 for our annual European meeting, it certainly did get better.

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Caption:  The Grand Palais.

Some of us arrived on March 22 to take a look at Paris facilities that are similar to our own. Patrick Dixon of the British Library and Jack Plumb of the National Library of Scotland visited Sophie Durrleman and her team at the Bibliothèque nationale de France on Quai François Mitterand. Adrian Hardwicke and his team from the Tate visited the Spie Matthew Hall facilities team at the Louvre.

Our visit to the Bibliothèque nationale de France was a truly awesome experience—for anyone visiting Paris, a visit to this Library is not to be missed. With four twenty-storey towers and an overall floor area of 365,178m², this is a massive building with plant and services to match. Patrick and I were indebted to Pierre-Henry Colombier and Giorgio Lipari for our guided tour around the public and back-of-house facilities.

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Caption:  The Bibliothèque nationale de France  

In the evening, our host Marie-Pierre Marchè had arranged a dinner at the famous Bofinger Restaurant, which is not only famous for its Alsatian cuisine, but is also widely considered to be the most beautiful brasserie in Paris—and the wine wasn’t bad, either.  

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Caption: Dinner at Bofinger Restaurant.

On March 23, it was up early and on to the main event at the Grand Palais, where our host and fellow IAMFA member—Marie-Pierre Marchè, Directrice du Bâtiment et des Moyens Techniques for the Grand Palais—welcomed us for breakfast. Then it was down to business, with an introduction from Marie-Pierre and a brief description by Jack Plumb of the some of the work the IAMFA benchmarking working group had been putting together, in order to provide some limited benchmarking information on utility consumption.

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Caption: Meeting attendees in the auditorium of the Grand Palais.

The first presentation was provided by Laurent Duplouy, head of digitisation and project manager for digital storage; and Philippe Vallas, deputy director of preservation at the Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF), who together shared BnF experiences related to digital and physical storage.

The BnF really started in A.D. 1368 with the Library of King Charles V. In 1537, legal deposit was granted to collect all types of documents. In 1792, the Royal Library became the National Library, with the first public reading room opening in 1868—so the Library in written and printed form has been around for a considerable time. In digital form, the BnF only launched its website in 2006, so it has got a bit of catching up to do.

Laurent explained that digitisation started at the BnF in 1992, with the creation of its Digital Library. At first this involved the gradual digitisation of microfilms, then extra-large posters and local daily newspapers, followed by the routine harvesting of digital information from the web, especially on elections and sustainable development.

Philippe explained that the storage of physical collections is distributed across six sites, the most important of which are the François Mitterand and Richelieu locations. Preservation conditions can vary from one site to another: the François Mitterand and Bussy sites are able to maintain agreed environmental standards, while the Richelieu site is currently under refurbishment. As at many institutions, the environmental standards at François Mitterand have recently been relaxed to save energy and reduce carbon output.

Laurent went on to explain that digital content—from an onsite digitisation programme, internal administration output or from web archiving—enters the digital mainframe primary tape storage at François Mitterand, where it is copied to a secondary tape storage and lookup storage devices via servers. Also, again via servers and an external fibre links, the digital content stored on the secondary tape storage, the primary tape storage and lookup storage are all duplicated to backup devices at a remote site. 

Laurent and Philippe closed their presentation with a demonstration indicating that, spread out over a fifty-year period, digital storage would work out to be some 70% less expensive than physical storage. Perhaps that is something for all of us to ponder?

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Caption:  Laurent Duplouy and Philippe Vallas of the Bibliothèque nationale de France.

The next presentation was provided by Jean-Luc Bichet, the achitect for a new National Archives of France building; and Bruno Bonandrini, environmental engineer for the project.

Jean-Luc explained that a requirement for additional storage at the National Archives was identified at an early stage, but the search for a suitable site, and difficulties in securing sufficient funding, meant a delay. A site was eventually found at Pierrefitte, just north of Paris, and funding was finally approved, allowing planning to start in 2004.

Construction began in 2009, and the building will be completed in May 2012. The final design provided an 11-storey, 60,300m² facility, providing 320 linear kilometres of shelving, with space for a building extension to provide a further 80 kilometres of shelving.

The major design aim, however, was to create a facility that used the minimum amount of energy to operate. To achieve this, two specific areas were examined. The first was to build a really heavyweight structure with a high thermal mass; the second was to determine how an air-conditioning system could be designed to take advantage of the high thermal mass, again to minimise energy consumption.

The solution to the first challenge was to build the external wall of 300mm heavyweight concrete. This, however, brought its own problems, relating to the amount of time this type of concrete would take to cure, leading to high humidity levels within the collection spaces. To address this problem, the design team sought help from a specialist German supplier to supply a concrete mixture with 15% less water. In addition, they created a significant number of false windows in the external walls to allow fresh air to help remove the excess moisture caused by the setting concrete. Once the false windows are filled in with blockwork, the mechanical ventilation installation will be run for three months prior to occupation, to ensure that the collection space can maintain the necessary environmental conditions.

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Caption:  False windows in the new National Archives facility at Pierrefitte.

Bruno Bonandrini then took over, explaining how the Archives planned to control the environment, harnessing the benefits of the heavyweight structure. Firstly, Bruno had negotiated with the Archives preservation unit to alter the setpoints from 18ºc +/- 1ºc; 55%RH +/- 5% to 16ºc to 24ºc; 40% - 57% RH (with limits on the rate of change for both temperature and humidity). Secondly, Bruno used simulation software to calculate the energy consumption required to maintain the original environmental specifications, in order to set the benchmark for energy consumption within the facility.

Bruno then used this benchmark and the simulation software to assess the consequences of changing the variables to measure potential energy savings:

• Changing from 18ºc +/- 1ºc to 16ºc to 24ºc saved 14%

• Changing from 55%RH +/- 5% to 40% - 57% saved an additional 19% (31% in total)

• Changing fresh air component from 0.3 AC/hr to 0.1 AC/hr saved an additional 44% (61% in total)

• Changing to no fresh air component saved an additional 29% (72% in total).

By examining the moisture content of air in greater detail, it was determined that a moisture content of <5g/Kg and >11g/Kg would require the plant to either humidify or dehumidify. Based on this assumption, a control regime was proposed to shut the fresh air supply down when the outside air went beyond these limits and/or at night, when the building had only limited occupancy.

Whilst all this good work represented theoretical calculations, Bruno explained that a more pragmatic view was required, especially in relation to the fresh-air supply. The design thus introduced Sintra ventilation ducting, which is a high-velocity low-pressure ventilation system. With a particular nozzle, delivering air at 20m/s, the surrounding air is forced into the air stream, creating a helical air movement. Using this technique, the National Archives expects to only supply 1.5 AC/hr, instead of the normal 3 AC/hr.

Going back to the original environmental specifications, the stability target for the temperature is 0.5ºC per day and 2ºC per week, and the building’s natural inertia should limit variations to well within these targets. The stability target for relative humidity is 1% per day and 5% per week, which will remain the most daunting target, and it remains to be seen if this can be achieved.

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Caption:  Bruno Bonandrini, Environmental Engineer for the National Archives.

After a very nice lunch, it was the turn of our host Marie-Pierre Marchè to take the stage. Marie-Pierre’s presentation related the history of the Grand Palais. Interestingly, the impetus for the Grand Palais was the Crystal Palace in London, built for the Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations in 1851. The French Government decided that they should hold a similar exhibition in 1900, so they built the Grand Palais between the Invalides and the Trocadéro on the Champ de Mars.

The process started in 1894 with the launch of a competition for development of the 1900 Universal Exhibition. With no clear winner, it was decided that the design would be split between three architects. Charles Girault was awarded the role of overall coordination of the Grand Palais, as well as design of the Petit Palais which was to be located across the road from the Grand Palais. Construction started in 1897, but immediately ran into problems. The engineers had originally estimated that the building would require 152 pine piles; in fact, the building required 3,400 oak piles. The project was already over-budget and behind programme, and only just out of the ground—sound familiar?

By 1900, time was running short, and the budget was almost spent, so the Salon d’Honneur was left bereft of ornamentation; the monumental stairs were not finished and the quadriga (equestrian statues) were not in place. Notwithstanding these omissions, the building was inaugurated on May 1, 1900—and, truth be told, construction of the Grand Palais was never completed. Despite this, the Grand Palais remains a premier gallery of fine arts, representing some of the greatest French painters, including Ingres, Delacroix, Courbet, Pissarro, Renoir and Degas, among others.

During the twentieth century, the Grand Palais seemed to lose its way. Separate parts of the building were used in isolation from one another. The largest part of the building—the Nave—has housed, and continues to house, the most diverse range of activities, including displays of automobiles and aircraft, hot-air balloons, equestrian competitions, and fairs, all creating a link between technical progress and the public.

Closed to the public for eight years, the Grand Palais enjoyed a successful reopening, following serious refurbishment— especially to the oak piles, which had suffered serious deterioration over the years, and the glass roof covering the nave, which is the largest glass roof in Europe. Also totally refurbished were the two quadriga, which were removed from the building and restored to their original beauty, then reinstalled in their rightful locations.

Since 2005, restoration work has continued. The South Galleries were reopened to the public in October 2011, and in May 2012 the Salon d’Honneur will be reopened following extensive refurishment. The work is not yet finished. An ambitious project initiated by the president of the RMN-GP, Jean-Paul Cluzel, aims at restoring this unique building to its past unity and splendour, while also maintaining its versatility.

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Caption:  Our host Marie-Pierre Marché of Grand Palais, with U.K. Region Chair Jack Plumb.

Marie-Pierre then handed the presentation over to her Grand Palais colleague, Isabelle Noraz. Isabelle explained that the ambitious project was a ten-year plan lasting from 2012 to 2022. with a budget of some €300 million. The plan is divided into four discrete phases:

Phase 1: South Galleries and a small part of the Palais d’Antin

Phase 2: North Galleries, both external and internal refurbishment of the north end of Palais d’Antin

Phase 3: Remainder of the external fabric of the Palais d’Antin

Phase 4: Internal refurbishment of the North Galleries and the northern end of the Palais d’Antin

With all these different phases, the fundamental challenges are constant, and involve varying degrees of difficulty. One of these involves restoration of the external envelope, which is listed as a historical monument; the original design is not always apparent, however, and in places is damaged. The second challenge is to try and bring a building designed in the nineteenth century up to current standards for fire separation, fire escapes, structure and stability, etc., in order to ensure the safety of large numbers of the public who are expected to visit the building. Finally, it is important to renovate the interiors in a way that provides a functional space that not only respects the past, but provides interest for the future.

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Caption:  Isabelle Noraz of the Grand Palais.

Once the presentations were over, we were taken on a tour of the Grand Palais. We visited the recently refurbished South Galleries and Salon d’Honneur, as well as the Nave, including the main staircase. Afterwards, Marie-Pierre arranged a brief walk through of the “Helmut Newton” photographic exhibition held in the newly restored south east gallery—this was quite special, as it was the press day on the day of our visit—and also the “Animal Beauty” exhibition held in the national gallery.

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Caption:  Inside the Grand Palais.

Then it was au revoir to Marie-Pierre and her excellent team, who had looked after us so well, and off to the Gare du Nord for the Eurostar back to London. It was a truly memorable IAMFA meeting.  

Jack Plumb is the Facilities Manager at the National Library of Scotland, and is the current U.K. representative for IAMFA.


Regional Updates and Member News

U.K. Member Region

By Jack Plumb

Scotland will be the venue for the 2014 IAMFA Annual Conference. The organising committee held its first meeting in March this year to get the planning underway. The National Library of Scotland, the National Galleries of Scotland, Glasgow Life (a company managing Culture and Sport facilities on behalf of Glasgow Council), and the Royal Botanical Gardens of Edinburgh, will be your hosts in 2014.

We were very lucky to have IAMFA President John DeLucy on hand to provide valuable advice, not only the role and benefits of IAMFA membership, also the value of attending the yearly conferences. He spoke in particular about the learning experience delegates can expect from their attendance. John also passed on helpful information on the amount of preparation required to hold an IAMFA conference, as John was Chair of the 2008 London organising committee.

I was also reminded that Scotland held the first IAMFA conference outside of North America way back in 1998, when it was held in Edinburgh. At that conference, Pierre LePage of the Canadian Museum of Civilisation presented the results of a benchmarking exercise he had started, with 66 museums contributing their results. At the Edinburgh meeting, IAMFA agreed to take up Pierre’s work, and started a two-year process, working with Ian Follett’s Facility Management Services, setting in motion the comprehensive benchmarking exercise in which we take part today.

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Caption:  Committee members kick off planning for the IAMFA 2014 Annual Conference in Scotland.

In 2014, we will be showing you the delights of Edinburgh again, but this time you will also see the exciting developments that have taken place in Glasgow. Not only has Glasgow built fantastic new museums along the famous River Clyde, but they will also have just held the Commonwealth Games that July. In Edinburgh, you will see a superb refurbishment of the Scottish Portrait Gallery and the new Gatehouse at the Royal Botanical Gardens. With the Ryder Cup being held at Glen Eagles in late September, and the IAMFA conference to be slotted in, Scotland will be a very busy place, so come along and join the fun—there will be plenty to go round.

Jack Plumb is the Facilities Manager at the National Library of Scotland, and is the current U.K. representative for IAMFA.


Mid-Atlantic Member Region

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Caption:  Members of the Mid-Atlantic Committee multi-task while planning the upcoming IAMFA Annual Conference.


Washington, D.C.-Baltimore Member Region

By Maurice Evans

The Washington, D.C.-Baltimore Member Region held its first meeting of 2012 on January 25. The meeting was hosted by Eugene (Ski) Ramatowski at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, marking the first time the Holocaust Museum has hosted a chapter meeting. This was the final chapter meeting to be planned and hosted by Ski, as he retired on March 31. We wish him the best in his future endeavors and his retirement. The meeting was well attended, with over 40 individuals from six different cultural institutions. The Member Region also got a chance to recognize Alan Dirican for receiving the George Preston Memorial Award at the IAMFA Annual Conference in 2011.

The Museum hosted two presentations: one on cathodic protection for structural preservation, and one on treatment of industrial water without chemicals. The Holocaust Museum is using both of these methods in their buildings, and has been able to effectively preserve their structures, while also reducing water demand and chemical use at the Museum. These interesting and informative presentations were made by Gina Crevello, David Schofield and Vince Resor.

Following the presentations, we got a chance to tour the Museum’s mechanical rooms, where we were able to see the chemical-free treatment in operation, as well as the Museum’s state-of-the-art control center. The next Member Region meeting will be hosted by the Smithsonian Institution in June.

Maurice Evans is Facilities Zone Manager at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.

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Caption: Joey Graham, son of IAMFA member Neal Graham, and his new buddy Barack at the 18th hole at Andrews Air Force Base golf course in Washington, D.C.  


A Granddaughter’s Tribute

Joe Brennan’s mother died on March 14, 2012 at the age of nearly 90. He kindly shared this tribute written by his niece Louise, a doctoral candidate in clinical psychology at UCLA. Our sincerest sympathies to Joe and his family in the loss of a woman who was clearly extraordinary.

My grandmother was 6 feet tall. When she was in her mid-forties, she went to jail for protesting. When I was 12, she recommended that I do the same. She corrected our grammar. She served us rice and beans because "that's what 75% of the world eats for dinner." Her kids called her by her first name. Her middle name was "Debs," in honor of the socialist who ran for president from jail.

Over breakfast, she would ask children if the caffeine in tea is a drug. "What about the sugar?" She played Scrabble competitively and never let us win. She was vegetarian and kept chickens for the fresh eggs. When a dog killed a chicken, she ate it so as not to waste it. She was witty. She traveled the world, sometimes by bike.

People liked her. People admired her. Somebody always seemed to be visiting, often from a foreign country. As she slowly lost the structure of her mind over the last several years, my relatives endured stubbornness, outbursts, and heartache so that she could stay in her home of more than 50 years. This morning, in a home with a hand-hewn wooden latch on the front door and a wood-burning stove, we let go of the woman we had already lost. At first I thought it would be pointless to share all of this with people who didn't know her, but then I decided that I would because you should.

Northern California/Nevada Member Region

By Joe Brennan

Our Member Region just returned from its first interstate meeting, for which we took Amtrak from San Francisco to Reno and back again over the snowy Sierra Nevada Mountains. We went east on Friday, March 30,  and west on Sunday, April 1.

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Caption:  Skiers pass overhead during the train trip to Reno.

On March 31, we toured two of Reno’s largest museums: the National Automobile Museum (, and the Nevada Museum of Art ( The Nevada Museum of Art’s Facilities Director Jes Stewart arranged everything, and hosted us through a busy day.

The day got off to a great start at legendary Peg’s Glorified Han N Eggs, followed by a walk over to the National Automobile Museum’s riverside location. This is a fabulous auto collection highlighting 150 classics of the renowned Harrah’s collection, plus at least that many again in four galleries: 1890–1910s, Teens–1930s, 1930s–1950s and 1950, Race Cars and Beyond. Our automobile euphoria was made possible by through generous invitation of Director Jackie Frady.

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Caption:  Joe Brennan’s first car: a 1929 Model A Ford (wonder if he bought it new?  Ha!).

Next, we walked to the Nevada Museum of Art (NMA) and snacked in their delightful Café Musee watching the cloudburst outdoors. The four-story Museum sits strikingly apart from its surroundings in a unique black zinc cladding. Designed  by architect Will Bruder,  it opened in 2003. The featured exhibition currently on display is Celebrate Art of the Tiffany Era.

We also attended a chamber music presentation in one of the Tiffany galleries—a special thanks to NAM’s Curator of Education Colin Robertson for the privilege. The backdrop was seven backlit lancet windows of Tiffany stained glass, depicting larger-than-life angels, giving the room and performances quite an ambiance. We heard pieces selected from the Tiffany era by the acappella choir Reno Early Music, and an inspired solo performance by Peter Epstein on the saxophone. I was surprised to hear the oxymoron-like term “Tiffany Firearms”, but discovered that there are many firearms decorated by the Tiffany as ceremonial presentations to generals and admirals, etc. There was a delightful representation of this art form on loan from Reno’s own mega-collector, Bob Lee.

Jes then conducted a top-to-bottom back-of-house tour of the 60,000-square-foot facility. We began in the glassed-in  penthouse, where a small kitchen will be built out to support rooftop events on their large and beautiful roof deck, where we watched snow flurries swirling. In the two years he has been with the Museum, Jes has gotten the membrane roof on a good maintenance cycle, solving many of its previous issues. Another success story was his achieving a retro commissioning of the Trane equipment controlled by their Trane BMS system, bringing the plant into a more harmonious and efficient operation.

We adjourned to the Founder’s Room for drinks and refreshments as the sun streamed in through the west-facing windows. We conducted our Region meeting here, speaking mainly about topics we would like to hear about, and locations we’d like to visit. The top topics are LED lighting, high-pressure-mist sprinkler systems, and security innovations. Potential tours include the Stanford Linear Accelerator, the restored Nike Missile Silo, and the new super-efficient LEED Platinum headquarters building of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission.

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Caption:  Amtrak arrives to transport everyone back to San Francisco.

On Sunday morning, the westbound California Zephyr arrived on time from Chicago—surprise, surprise—and we enjoyed a delightful passage back over Donner Summit under its thick burden of new snow. Attending were Robert Larmon of the Contemporary Jewish Museum and his wife Dana; Tony Pellegrini of the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts; Frank Bezek, retired from the Steinhart Aquarium; Bob Giorni, retired City of SF Chemist and wife Pat; Jim Weaver; and Joe Brennan of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

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Caption:  Donner pass on the return trip to San Francisco.

Joe Brennan is Director of Facilities at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.


List of Contributors

Joe Brennan

Bruce Canter

John Castle

Judie Cooper

John de Lucy

Michael Downs

Kevin Dunn

Rebecca T. Ellis

Maurice Evans

Neal Graham

Molly Keresztury

Joe May

Christopher Miles

Jack Plumb

Gregory H. Simmons

C.L. Taylor

Allan Tyrrell

Stacey Wittig

Stephanie Wurtzel