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Second Museum in St. Louis to Achieve LEED Gold Certification

Sept. 11, 2019

The Soldiers Memorial Military Museum was recently awarded LEED Gold certification by the USGBC. The announcement follows the LEED Gold certification of the Gateway Arch Visitor Center and Museum, awarded in February 2019.

For the second time this year, a well-known museum in St. Louis, MO, has obtained LEED Gold certification. The Soldiers Memorial Military Museum was awarded the prestigious green building certification, developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), during a ceremony at Soldiers Memorial in August.

(Photo: Karen Goering, managing director of administration and operations for the Missouri Historical Society (left), and Mahesh Ramanujam, president and CEO of the U.S. Green Building Council (right), hold the LEED Gold certification plaque. Credit: Missouri Historical Society)

Originally completed in 1938, Soldiers Memorial Military Museum reopened in November 2018 following a multi-year, $30 million renovation led by the Missouri Historical Society (MHS).

4 LEED Categories Addressed

In collaboration with Mackey Mitchell Architects and BSI Constructors, MHS worked to address all LEED categories, including these four:

1. Sustainable sites:

The Missouri Historical Society renovated the Court of Honor at Soldiers Memorial by developing an outdoor space that emphasizes community connection and engagement. The updates to the Court of Honor encourage visitors and pedestrians to spend as much time outside Soldiers Memorial as they would inside.

The renovations account for alternative means of transportation and include a new charging station for electric vehicles. The use of a white roof reduces the heat island effect, which helps to minimize the effects of greenhouse gases.

2. Energy and atmosphere: 

MHS optimized Soldiers Memorial’s energy performance by installing an energy-efficient HVAC system. Staff continue to benchmark energy usage so they can continue to optimize its operations. All of the original light fixtures were restored and retrofitted for use with LED bulbs.


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3. Materials and resources: 

MHS reused materials whenever possible, including granite steps, marble walls and the original Vitrolite panels in the public restrooms. When it was not feasible to reuse materials, MHS purchased materials that had been recycled, sourced locally and/or were from a certified responsible source.

Construction waste was treated responsibly. Materials were recycled and a local hauler was used to dispose of waste generated.

4. Indoor environmental quality: 

A priority in the St. Louis region is indoor air quality. MHS addressed this by using environmentally responsible materials and effective use of operational equipment. Low-emitting materials were used during construction and for permanent features within Soldiers Memorial.

The building and its exhibits are also ADA-compliant for the first time in its history and include new accessibility features, such as closed captioning on video elements and tactile relief and touchable models for visitors with low vision.

Soldiers Memorial Military Museum follows in the footsteps of another St. Louis hot spot — the newly renovated visitor center and museum of the city’s iconic Gateway Arch, which was awarded LEED Gold certification in February 2019. Mahesh Ramanujam, president and CEO of the U.S. Green Building Council, recently visited St. Louis to personally present both museums with LEED plaques.

(Photo: The original Art Deco torchiere lights rest on the gallery floor after being updated and before being reinstalled in the Loggia. Credit: Missouri Historical Society​)

“It’s very rare for two museums within the same region to obtain LEED Gold at the same time,” said Angela Moore, MHS’ facilities and sustainability coordinator, in a press release. “We’re honored USGBC president and CEO Mahesh Ramanujam chose to personally present LEED plaques to Soldiers Memorial Military Museum and the Gateway Arch Visitor Center and Museum. It’s wonderful to see St. Louis’ sustainable building projects being recognized at an international level.”

(Photo: The original Vitrolite tiles in the second-floor public restrooms were preserved and repaired or replaced where necessary. Every effort was made to maintain the architectural and historic integrity of the beautiful Art Deco building. Credit: Missouri Historical Society)

To learn more about how the Missouri Historical Society makes history meaningful and accessible through its physical locations, visit mohistory.org.

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About the Author

Adrian Schley | Staff Writer

Adrian Schley has been writing for interiors+sources magazine since March of 2018 and creates content for the BUILDINGS team. She earned her BA in journalism at the University of Iowa, where she also studied English.

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