NEW YORK – In its 80th anniversary year, the Empire State Building today unveiled a new, permanent exhibit that captures the global icon’s astonishing history, engineering and construction. Curated by Carol Willis of New York City’s Skyscraper Museum, the installation is located on the 80th floor of the World’s Most Famous Office Building and further enriches and enhances each visitor’s Observatory experience.
Anthony E. Malkin, Empire State Building Company, stated, “As part of our more than $550 million Empire State ReBuilding program, we have completely upgraded our Observatory experience. From our brilliantly restored art deco masterpiece lobby, to this celebration of the unprecedented and unmatched feats of engineering and construction of the Empire State Building, we have created a totally new offering to our millions of annual visitors.” He added, “The new 80th floor exhibit’s homage to the pioneering work of the architects, builders, and laborers of the day adds to our $2 million, multi-media exhibit about the groundbreaking work on energy efficiency performed at the building and offers educational value for every visitor.”
With content from The Skyscraper Museum’s archives, the exhibit illustrates three main themes:
Speed: Construction took only 11 months from the setting of the tower’s first steel columns on April 7, 1930, to the completed building by March 31, 1931–a full month before the official opening ceremonies on May 1, 1931.
Scale: Gigantic in every dimension, the record-breaking tower required immense amounts of materials and equipment to build what is still one of the tallest and largest man made structures in the world
Steel: The building’s steel frame was intricately designed with remarkable proportions, and all aspects of its construction remain extraordinary, even today
The exhibit shares numerous remarkable facts as well as reproductions of nostalgic photos and mementos of the more than 3,400 workers who helped create history. Documents include stunning period photographs, architectural sketches and renderings, construction notes, and daily bookkeeping documents presented on a series of photomurals, banners, two panels and seven stands. In a unique twist, the exhibit uses the windows of the building to show views from 1931, creating a period look unimaginable unless seen.
Empire State Building visitors view the exhibit along route to the world-famous 86th and 102nd floor Observatories. The building is open daily, 365 days a year, from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m.