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WASHINGTON DC -The Smithsonian Institution is seeking an architect to design a new public space concept plan for the National Museum of American History. The 350,000-sf museum, built almost 40 years ago, expects to change a lot to accommodate an audience that may reach 10 million in the coming decade and new interactive exhibit technology.

“We anticipate that our audience will significantly increase in size over the coming decade, and changing audience needs and expectations may require significant changes to our current use of space on public floors,” reads a listing of the request for proposals from the Smithsonian.

The museum wants a plan to guide future development that will orient visitors physically and intellectually towards the museum. It wants improved signage, larger and more flexible exhibition space for state-of-the-art displays and multimedia technology, and better positioning of its retail space and location of classrooms. To create a more engaging public appearance, museum officials want to improve its exterior and fountain. Building systems such as lighting, HVAC, security and adaptive network infrastructure also need work. The plan will also need to identify spaces for two future exhibitions, each 18,000 to 20,000 sf large.

With future exhibits awaiting this project, work will need to be completed within six months of the Smithsonian giving notice. The museum is eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.

Proposals from qualifying firms are due by Nov. 16.

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