National Museum of the United States Army

Overview 

Designed to provide the only comprehensive portrayal of Army history and traditions through the eyes of the American Soldier, the National Museum of the United States Army (NMUSA) is located at Fort Belvoir, Virginia. Just 20 miles south of Washington, D.C., NMUSA opened on Veterans Day, November 11, 2020.  

NMUSA is an approximately 185,000 square foot, five-story central pavilion museum. The first museum of its kind for the United States Army, NMUSA celebrates, preserves, and presents the U.S. Army’s history through art, exhibits, and programmatic elements. With over 245 years of U.S. Army history documented, the state-of-the-art museum’s centerpiece is a major exhibition facility where Soldier’s stories are joined with thousands of artifacts that trace the U.S. Army’s history. Currently, the museum holds 15,000 pieces from the Army Art collection and 30,000 artifacts overall. 

Approach 

As a connected solutions project with Envise, Southland Industries provided design-build mechanical, plumbing, and fire protection services as well as building management system (BMS) predictive and preventative maintenance and related service projects.  

The project highlights include design and installation of radiant heating/cooling slabs in the exhibit space and lobby, skidding radiant equipment, a dedicated outside air system, and fast installation of fabric duct in the exhibit hall. The dedicated outside air system provides ventilation and humidification to the gallery spaces with the systems installed controlling and maintaining specific humidification levels in the exhibits and The Army Theater. The federal government’s risk management platform is also incorporated for the BMS, comprehensive lighting controls, wayfinding, and other technologies.  

Coordinated efforts and careful planning between all teams and trades were utilized to ensure the success of this project. The museum was erected around four key pieces, three tanks, and an aircraft that were placed in the museum before construction was completed due to size constraints. The lobby ceilings hold banner glass, which Southland had to coordinate and work around the exhibit pieces, hiding all mechanical systems from view. 

Result 

Southland successfully completed the design-build mechanical, plumbing, and fire protection services as well as the BMS and related services projects. This includes currently operating the BMS and performing maintenance on all installed systems by Southland. 

Additionally, this project achieved LEED Silver certification and also won Washington Building Congress (WBC) Craftsmanship Awards for mechanical piping and sheet metal. 

Looking forward to future opportunities, Southland is proud to be on the lobby’s granite donor wall, which recognizes the contributions made by the individuals and organizations in support of the museum. 

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