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The Harvard Art Museums: Then and Now

During the renovation of the Harvard Art Museums, concluding this fall, we have taken great care to document this historic moment. These images of some of our signature spaces capture the scale, focus, and elegance of this transformative process.

Le Corbusier ramp
The restoration and extension of the Le Corbusier ramp, which connects the Harvard Art Museums to the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, has given Prescott Street a whole new vista (without power lines).

The glass roof
Called the “Light Machine” by architect Renzo Piano, the new roof of the Harvard Art Museums, delicately crafted and controlled with multiple layers of glass and shades, bathes the future site of the Straus Center for Conservation and Technical Studies with light and diffuses into the galleries and the Calderwood Courtyard below. UV and infrared light filters, as well as the intricate shading system, allows the wealth of natural light to be carefully controlled.

Calderwood Courtyard
A veiled column facing the Calderwood Courtyard casts a ghostly shadow. But now, the renovation reveals a glittering cascade of light behind the column’s vertical lines.

The vaulted arcades
A 2013 image of one of the courtyard arcades during reconstruction by local handcrafters gives a glimpse of its skeletal structure—steel braces, bent and crisscrossing across the ceiling—while a more recent image shows the finished vaulted arcade rising above the walkways.

The Naumburg Room
Bequeathed in 1930, the Naumburg Room was dismantled in New York City and reassembled, piece by piece, in the Fogg Museum. Dismantled again during renovations, the room has once again taken its original form (albeit in a new location), just as the Naumburgs envisioned, and will provide a social space for Harvard faculty, students, and staff, as well as visiting artists and scholars.


  • 01 -02 View of the new Harvard Art Museums from Prescott Street, showing the Le Corbusier ramp, which connects the museums to the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts. Photos: Peter Vanderwarker.
  • 03 -04 The new roof, overlooking the paper laboratory in the Straus Center for Conservation and Technical Research. Photo (03): Peter Vanderwarker.
  • 05 -06 The Calderwood Courtyard. Photo (06): Peter Vanderwarker.
  • 07 -08 The vaulted ceilings of an arcade surrounding the Calderwood Courtyard.
  • 09 -10 The Naumburg Room.