Projects | Children’s Museums | A Historic Site Becomes a Place to Play

A Historic Site Becomes a Place to Play

Please Touch Museum
  • Relocation/Renovation
  • Philadelphia, PA
  • 157,000 SF
The first project of NorthStar Museums and Education, Please Touch Museum was its relocation to Memorial Hall in Fairmount Park that included a full interior and exterior restoration, renovation and 9,000 square foot addition. The success of this project was based on NorthStar being fully integrated into the process including selection of the new site, identification of funding sources and day to day oversight. Since Memorial Hall is a National Historic Site, NorthStar made sure to meet all of the special requirements that came along with this task, including working with federal and state grant departments (City of Philadelphia, Parks and Recreation), the Fairmount Park Commission, Septa, parking/civil work including ticketing and security, management of design teams, cost estimating, value engineering. NorthStar continues to work with Please Touch on ongoing restoration projects and master planning, including

NorthStar began working with Please Touch Museum in 1999 on one of the country’s largest and most extensive museum renovations. Acting as Owner’s Representative, NorthStar reviewed 48 potential sites, including Penn’s landing, before settling on Memorial Hall - a Nationally Registered Historic Site - for its accessibility, visibility, and sustainability. The $88 million, 11-year project involved moving the museum and its exhibits from a 38,000 SF facility to the 157,000 SF Memorial Hall. The project also included the design and construction of a 9,000 SF glass and steel addition to house a 100-year-old carousel with over 50 elaborately hand-carved animals. In 2015, NorthStar managed the restoration of the historic memorial hall dome, which was an engineering, construction, and project management feat. NorthStar is currently managing the restoration of the grand marble floor, which has endured 140 years of foot traffic, and will continue to work with Please Touch on ongoing restoration projects and master planning.