Building/Development plan


The Museum, together with the developers of a proposed Hyatt Hotel, have submitted a proposal to GSA to convert the historic Old Post Office Building (OPO) on Pennsylvania Avenue North West, Washington, DC, into an elegant Park Hyatt Hotel and a stunning new museum designed by Daniel Libeskind. Mr. Libeskind was recently awarded the Medal of Honor by the American Institute of Architects New York. The museum would be located on the “foot print” of the existing glass annex to the OPO (which would be torn down).

The museum’s multi-leveled roof spaces are designed as gardens. They will be used for recreation and special events while also serving to soften the ubiquitous stone of the surrounding buildings. The gardens will offer a pleasing view of greenery for people in the Hyatt Hotel and the IRS Building who look down upon them.

Among other numerous innovative features, the Libeskind museum design includes a soaring atrium that visually opens the interior of the museum.

The museum will be surrounded by an attractive natural landscape designed by Roger Courtenay, respected local landscape architect (FASLA). He is known for designing the grounds of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian.

Jones Lang Lasalle (JLL) will be the developers of the NMJP and Whiting Turner will be the contractors.

The economic feasibility of the NMJP at this location has been carefully studied by AECOM, the world’s foremost expert on the economic viability of museums in the U. S. and abroad.  

The overall museum design is dramatic and compelling. If accepted by GSA, it will add excitement and vitality to a rather staid stretch of Pennsylvania Avenue.


If our proposal is accepted, the NMJP will contain a fascinating collection of rare and beautiful objects gathered from around the world. Exhibits will make use of the highest state-of-the-art technology. For example, the Art and Architecture Wing will feature holographically-created images of important buildings designed by famous Jewish architects. Visitors will be able to literally walk around a convincing holographic reproduction of Libeskind’s famous Jewish Museum in Berlin or Frank Gehry’s iconic museum in Bilbao, Spain. A verbal description will accompany the tour.

The walls of the reproduced buildings can, at the command of the visitor, be “pierced” to display the interior. A curator will thereupon appear on a giant computer screen and describe the contents.

In the Sports and Games Wing, an inter-active display will offer the visitor, such as a young chess enthusiast, the ability to play a game of chess against Bobby Fisher or other Jewish world champion chess players whose games are recorded on super computers. Other exciting displays in this wing will offer the visitor the challenge of hitting a computerized Sandy Koufax fast ball.

The permanent installations of objects and technology will be supplemented by an array of changing exhibits that extend from the archaeological to the contemporary. They will reflect on what “Jewish” means in varied contexts, as well as consider the ways in which Jewish and non-Jewish culture and tradition have interacted with and influenced each other. How did Jewish and Muslim customs and ideas in Morocco affect culture, from food to art, during 14 centuries of interface? How are the famous paintings of Camille Pissarro, Mark Rothko and others affected by the Jewish heritage of these artists?


Specially designed spaces for reflection and study, concerts, theater performances and lectures will be part of the museum complex, each situated in their own areas within the museum. A dedicated entrance facing 12th Street will house these spaces so that the security of the museum proper will be maintained while these facilities are used after hours.

The museum will also present a series of programs featuring distinguished speakers, from scientists and poets to artists and performers. The NMJP will thus present an uplifting narrative that reflects the significant contributions made by Jews throughout four millennia to the enhancement of world civilization. It will thereby balance the tragic story told in the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.