Maine Historical Society

Brown Library & Longfellow Garden

Project at a Glance

Portland, ME


Schwartz/Silver Architects, Inc.

Project Type


Project Overview

  • Renovating and expanding a historic building without sacrificing its character
  • Recreating the historic Longfellow Garden from drawings and photographs
  • Providing options and alternates to customize the project scope to the client’s budget

This 10,000 sq. ft. renovation and 10,000 sq. ft. addition converted the Maine Historical Society’s existing library into reading rooms and public spaces. The renovations included upgrades to all mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems, as well as fire-protection and ADA-compliance upgrades. The addition provides a new temperature- and humidity-controlled, high-density storage space to house the Society’s collections while allowing them room to expand in the future. The historic Longfellow Garden was carefully deconstructed and recreated from historic drawings and photographs, adding details such as the Children’s Gate that were removed in the 1960s.

Items such as garden pavers, individual building elevations and alternative material choices were presented as options to be inserted into the project scope depending on available funds.