Museum Hours
Thu: 1 PM–8 PM
Fri–Mon: 10 AM–5 PM
Tue–Wed: Closed
200 Larkin Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
Public Notice

Sustaining Cultural Heritage Collection Grant

NOV 27, 2023

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has awarded the Asian Art Museum, in San Francisco, California, a Sustaining Cultural Heritage Collection grant (PF-287867-22) to renovate and upgrade its fire suppression system.NEH is an independent grant-making agency of the United States government dedicated to supporting research, education, preservation, and public programs in the humanities.  This public notice is issued as part of NEH’s responsibilities under 36 C.F.R. Part 800, the regulations which implement Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) of 1966, as amended, 54 U.S.C. 306108.  NEH, a funding agency, is required by regulation to identify and assess the effects of any proposed actions on historic properties.  If any proposed action will have an adverse effect on historic resources, NEH works with the appropriate parties to seek ways to avoid, minimize, or mitigate any adverse effects.  Additionally, the Section 106 regulations require NEH to consider the views of the public on preservation issues when making final decisions that affect historic properties.The Asian Art Museum is located at 200 Larkin Street, San Francisco, California 94102, in the former San Francisco Main Library building, constructed in 1916. The building is a contributor to the San Francisco Civic Center Historic District, which was listed in the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP #78000757), a National Historic Landmark, and a San Francisco Landmark District.The proposed undertaking involves three parts. Part 1 entails conducting a full survey of all pre-action pipes on the lower level and installing additional access hatches to allow for a full survey of all accessible lengths of the pre-action pipes in dropped ceilings on the upper levels. This will identify any locations exhibiting signs of active leakage and any locations exhibiting early signs of exterior corrosion. The survey will measure the pipe pitch of the entire system to identify all areas that are pitched incorrectly and potentially trapping standing water. Museum staff will continue to conduct periodic inspection of sprinkler pipes during the three-year implementation period. Based on the results of the survey, the museum will proactively replace individual sections of the dry pipe system informed by assessed pipe conditions and the criticality of potential leak damage across the building.Part 2 consists of installing a nitrogen generator to the existing pre-action fire suppression system to prevent further corrosion. The installation of the nitrogen generator is expected to prevent further pipe corrosion and prolong the lifespan of the current pipe system by 10-20 years. The nitrogen generator will be installed in the fire pump room on the basement level. This is a modern room and not a historic area of the building.In Part 3, museum staff will oversee the drafting and approval of a formal art protection plan to further define protocols in the event of a water-based incident and train staff accordingly. This will include extensive training of Conservation, Curatorial, Engineering, and Facilities staff in art protection policies, mitigation, and disaster preparedness specifically related to water damage. This will also include implementing preventive measures to mitigate or redirect any potential leaking water, including installing sealed and properly lapped plastic protection over art in collection storage spaces, installing drip trays in galleries, and rehousing collections in areas deemed most susceptible to pipe leakage. Part 3 will ensure the protection of museum collections for the next 10-20 years, or until the nitrogen generator ceases to prevent corrosion effectively in the pipe system and the system must be replaced and will inform staff policies and protocol for years to come.All work will be internal to the building and will not occur in areas that contribute to the building’s eligibility on the National Register of Historic Places.On October 27, 2023, Julianne Polanco, State Historic Preservation Officer for California, provided an opinion of no adverse effect. After reviewing Section 106 documentation and SHPO finding, NEH issues a determination of no adverse effect to historic properties.As required by Section 106, NEH is providing the public with information about this project, as well as an opportunity to comment on any knowledge of, or concerns with, historic properties in the proposed project area, and issues relating to the project’s potential effects on historic properties. Comments may be submitted to the NEH by e-mail to [email protected].  The deadline for submitting comments is December 4, 2023