Last week, MCAAD staff took a tour of the Visitor Center site to see some of the incredible progress the construction team has made.  

Standing outside the U.S. Treasury, directly across the street from our buildings, you get a sense of the scale of the project. Once you step inside, it becomes apparent that the exterior work is just the tip of the iceberg!

The lobby of the Conference Center and our office building is one of the most finished spaces to-date and provides a grand entrance for visitors and guests. This refurbished vault door was moved from the original bank buildings and is flanked by 189 safety deposit boxes that will be engraved with the names of our donors. We look forward to welcoming visitors to the Conference Center in just a few weeks!

Throughout the space we have incorporated architectural features from the banks’ original design. For example, we repurposed the original teller desks from the bank and sent them to a bronzeworker in Georgia to be refashioned into a reception desk while retaining the stunning original details.

The lobby also features one of the original check-writing stations.

To enter the active construction site on Pennsylvania Avenue, we walked through another one of the three original vault doors that we are repurposing. Senior Project Manager Gabriella Aguirre stands next to the vault to show its massive scale.

Chief of Design & Construction David Grissino led the tour, beginning with the lower levels of the 1501 former American Securities & Trust building.

The space through this hole in the wall will eventually be our 5-story atrium that connects 1501 to 1503, but for now it is the only way to bring materials in and out of the 1501 building. This means that it will be one of the last spaces we close off.

Directly above a current excavation site that will provide more exhibition space, the team admires the work that has been done on the 1501 bank hall. Here, we will orient visitors with special exhibitions, inviting them to begin their journey through the Visitor Center.

Upon entering the adjoining 1503 bank hall, we saw team members working on the mezzanine which will hold more exhibit space.

In the early days of Riggs Bank’s operation, the mezzanine level had glass windows that looked down onto the main floor of the bank. Eventually the wall was closed up and the windows plastered over—panes of glass and all! We discovered and removed the panes of glass when the team began to re-open the mezzanine level- and we look forward to restoring these windows before we open in July 2023.

Much like those who came before us and left writing on the walls and notes for us to find, our construction team has left markings that reflect the experience of working through the pandemic and the challenges of 2020, all with a hopeful eye towards the future!

As the tour came to a close, we looked out across Pennsylvania Avenue to our neighbors at the U.S. Treasury.

David Grissino

Chief of Design and Construction