Washington, D.C.’s historic Carnegie Library has a new lease on life. Following painstaking months of restoration and renovation, Apple and the Historical Society of Washington, D.C. will reopen the building’s doors on May 11th at 10:00 A.M. The restored library will house Apple’s second store in D.C. as well as the Kiplinger Research Library and historical society exhibit space.
Apple Carnegie Library will join a small but growing number of global flagship stores worldwide — Apple’s most significant retail and event spaces. The building’s restoration has been planned for several years and was the result of a close collaboration between Apple, architects Foster + Partners, restoration firm Beyer Blinder Belle, and the Historical Society of Washington, D.C. Prior to revitalization, the spectacular Beaux-Arts structure was highly underutilized and in a state of decay.
“Together, let’s create the next chapter,” reads a slogan published on Apple’s website. “Inspired by the rich history of Carnegie Library, we are reimagining Apple Carnegie Library as a brand-new space to learn. Where everyone is welcome to come and discover all kinds of creativity, connect with new ideas, and share their stories.
Located at the center of Mount Vernon Square and steps from the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, the library was a public fixture in D.C. for nearly 70 years after being established by Andrew Carnegie. “Carnegie envisioned it years ago when he had the reading room. For Apple, we’ll have field trips with busloads of kids; or they will be coming in learning to code every morning,” former SVP of Retail Angela Ahrendts said in an interview this past January.
To celebrate the store’s opening, Apple will host an entirely new series of Today at Apple sessions called the StoryMakers Festival. Six weeks of sessions by 40 creators will teach attendees how to express their own stories with photos, music, video, art, and design.
D.C’s Carnegie Library very well could become the premiere Apple location in the U.S. to visit for a Today at Apple session and the powerhouse of Apple’s education efforts, like the Everyone Can Create curriculum. Global flagship stores attract top talent and feature exclusive event calendars. By sharing the space with the historical society, Apple will benefit from a second audience of researchers and teachers. The partnership will serve as a model for the style of community engagement the company hopes to pursue in the future.
A key attraction at the D.C. History Center is expected to be an exhibit called “The Big Picture,” a collection of historic panoramic images documenting milestones and daily life in D.C.’s past. The collection will occupy one of three exhibit spaces reserved for the Historical Society. Areas have also been reserved for climate-monitored storage of artifacts and research.
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