Study weighs four sites for Smithsonian African American History Museum





Despite some reservations, engineers evaluating sites for the National Museum of African American History and Culture cited advantages of two spots, one near the Washington Monument and the other at Benjamin Banneker Overlook, a park on a hill above the municipal fish market.

The engineering study did not make an explicit recommendation. The Smithsonian Board of Regents and an advisory council of the African American museum discussed the 198-page Site Evaluation Study yesterday in a closed session. Their assessment of the findings is another step in the selection of a site. The regents are expected to announce their choice late next month.

The report, prepared by Plexus Scientific, an engineering firm, and architects PageSoutherlandPage, was made public yesterday.

The four sites under consideration include two on the Mall: the Washington Monument site, between Constitution Avenue and Madison Drive just west of 14th Street; and the Smithsonian's Arts and Industries Building, on the Mall near Ninth Street, next to the Hirshhorn Museum.

The other two spots, both near the Mall: the Liberty Loan Building property at 14th Street and Maine Avenue near the Tidal Basin, and Banneker Overlook, at the southern end of the L'Enfant Promenade.

Many supporters of the museum and President Bush have said the museum should be on the Mall.

The new museum would be part of the Smithsonian; officials there have estimated it would cost $300 million to $500 million. The study says costs could range from $356 million to $1.4 billion in 2006 dollars.

The building is expected to be 350,000 square feet -- roughly the size of the National Museum of the American Indian. The Monument site and Banneker Overlook offer the most space.


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