Museum of African American History – Historic Restoration

AfrChur_22Size: Three stories, 5,364 sq. ft.
GC: Shawmut Design and Construction
Electrical Crew:  5

Scope: Electrical restoration of two-century old historic former African Meeting House on extremely tight site on Beacon Hill. Installed new electrical service, interior and exterior lighting, fire alarm system, and tel/data infrastructure.  Electrical installations also provided for new adjoining structure, housing an elevator and stairway for handicap access. Construction of new electrical and mechanical room.


  • Integration of electrical service in basement of new adjoining structure into historic structure
  • Value-engineering, design-assist to ensure wiring layouts had minimal impact to building
  • Lighting installations included revitalization of centuries’-old gas lanterns to electrical
  • Grand chandelier in sanctuary refurbished and converted to electrical
  • Theatrical lighting installed for special events
  • Project timeline: 1 year

Unique Project Challenges: Building’s extraordinarily small footprint and tight site necessitated that all trades could only bring in equipment to be installed in ensuing week.  Accuracy of wiring layout was essential to minimize impact to structure, as all cables were chiseled through the brick walls of the structure, and numerous floor boxes were cut into the existing historic wood floor.  Utilization of mechanical lift for installation required of sanctuary chandelier.