Located on the campus of one of the most prestigious HBCUs in the country, the Hampton University Museum is the oldest African American museum in the nation and one of the oldest museums in Virginia. Founded in 1848, the museum is dedicated to African American, African, Native American, Asian, and Pacific art and artifacts, containing over 9,000 pieces from around the world. A longtime partner of Hampton University, Clark Nexsen was tasked with designing a new 4,000 SF one-story addition that would house the Presidential Archives and Presidential Gallery.
A key challenge to the addition was celebrating the existing building's architecture and design while incorporating the museum's new wing. On the exterior, windows and precast elements pay homage to the building's original historical features. The design incorporates glass as a transparent element to connect the museum's 'old' and the 'new' seamlessly. Inside, the cladding of the existing building was left exposed while the railing and molding design was incorporated to strengthen the connection between the spaces further.
"The work of Clark Nexsen is second to none. I am so proud of our new wing that is currently serving as a beautiful new space to celebrate works from our collection like the Jacob Lawrence, Frederick Douglass, and Harriet Tubman Series. We anticipate creating exhibitions and programming in this carefully planned space that will serve our campus, and the local and national community."
Vanessa D. Thaxton-Ward, Ph.D., Director, Hampton University Museum
The exterior entrance of the building features a mural of perforated panels with the image of the Emancipation Oak. Designated as one of the ten Great Trees of the World by National Geographic, the Emancipation Oak holds tremendous significance for the university, community, and region as it was the site of the first Southern readings of President Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation. Incorporating the tree celebrates the timeless importance of the Hampton University Museum while boldly looking forward to the future.