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Carnegie Library F.A.Q.

The Historical Society has been approached by Events D.C., the city's convention and sports authority, in regards to the possible relocation of the International Spy Museum to the Carnegie Library at Mt. Vernon Square.

The Society, which is a tenant of Events D.C., intends to maintain its headquarters at the Carnegie. We have compiled a list of common questions and answers, which will be updated regularly throughout this process.

For more information on the history of the Carnegie Library at Mt. Vernon Square, please view our timeline.

Q1. Is there a finalized agreement in place?

No. While confidential discussions between the Society, Events D.C., and the Spy Museum have been ongoing, no plans have been finalized. The Society’s Board of Trustees and staff will be reaching out to our members, stakeholders, and the wider community throughout this process.

Q2. Who currently occupies the Carnegie Library?

The Society moved its headquarters to the Carnegie Library in 2003 after spending about $20 million for the building’s initial rehabilitation under a lease by the District government.

In the fall of 2011, Events D.C. took administrative control of the building from the District government and rents the building to clients as a premier special event space. The Society occupies about 25% of the Carnegie, including our Kiplinger Research Library, exhibition galleries, collections storage space, and offices. Building maintenance costs and utilities are paid by Events D.C., pursuant to our lease that expires in 2098.

Q3. How can the Historical Society, Events D.C., and the International Spy Museum all fit in the Carnegie Library building?

The current proposal envisions a 40,000-square-foot underground addition for use by the Spy Museum. In addition, a new glass structure on the north side of the building will house a visitor’s center and other dining and entertainment uses. There are no plans to alter the historic elements of the building. Some of the world’s best architects, museum designers, and historic preservation experts have been contracted to develop proposals for the site.

Q4. What are the potential benefits and drawbacks of any partnership for the Historical Society?

The primary benefit to the Society would be the co-location of one of the city’s primary attractions at the Carnegie Library, which would expose our collections and programming to hundreds of thousands of new visitors each year.

The Society would also benefit from upgraded environmental control systems, new exhibition galleries, and consolidated space for our library, collections, and offices all on the ground floor of the Carnegie Library building. These spaces would be constructed and leased to the Society at no cost for the remainder of our original lease.

The primary drawbacks of any potential proposal are the complications associated with moving historic collections, the need to occupy temporary space during construction at the Carnegie Library and disruption of access to the collections.

Q5. How will the Society’s collections be secured and cared for?

The Society will continue to exercise the utmost care to preserve and protect the historic collections entrusted to us. We have already had preliminary meetings with conservation specialists who would work with our staff and volunteers to store and move the collections as well as consult on any facility and environmental system designs.

While moving does present challenges, the long-term preservation and care of the collections would ultimately benefit from the upgraded environmental control systems and newly renovated storage and exhibition spaces. In addition, any move would be scheduled to minimize disruption to researchers.

Q6. Has the Society considered moving permanently from the Carnegie Library?

While no options are off the table, the strategic, programmatic, and financial benefits to the Society maintaining its headquarters in the Carnegie Library would be very difficult to achieve in another location. Our discussions have therefore been centered on how to best accommodate the Society’s current needs and future growth at Mt. Vernon Square.

Q7. Who is paying for all of this and what is the proposed timeline for completion?

Events D.C. and the Malrite Corporation, owner of the International Spy Museum, will jointly develop the Carnegie Library at Mt. Vernon Square including all costs associated with the Society’s new permanent space, interim space, and relocation expenses. The Malrite Corporation would also reincorporate the Spy Museum as a 501c3 non-profit organization.

Dependent on the finalization of all the necessary agreements and regulatory approval, the proposed timeline calls for a groundbreaking in 2015 with a grand opening in 2017.

Q8. What will happen to the Historical Society’s current operations?

As we have for the last 119 years, the Society will continue its mission to collect, interpret, and share the history of our nation’s capital. We are maintaining the current operating schedule for our exhibitions and patron access to the Kiplinger Research Library. For updates about our programming and plans for the Carnegie Library building, please join our mailing list, like us on Facebook, and follow @DCHistory on Twitter.

Q9. Who can I contact if I have additional questions?

For information about the Historical Society, please contact us at or 202-249-3955. For information about the development plans for the Carnegie Library at Mt. Vernon Square, please contact Chinyere Hubbard at or 202-439-5133.

The Historical Society of Washington, D.C. • 801 K Street, NW at Mount Vernon Square • Washington, DC 20001 • 202-249-3955 •