Register by Monday, April 12. Click HERE to register.

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) in Washington, DC is an elegant building with a rich collection of much importance to society, and in documenting and presenting the history and culture of African Americans.

The Assistant Director of Council Operations and Museum Initiatives, Carla Thomas McGinnis, will share a brief virtual walk through of the museum, its exhibitions, and upcoming programming. She will also discuss details around the inspiration behind the building’s façade and aesthetic design. Thereafter, Paul E. Totten, PE, LEED AP, and Dave Nichols, CBCP, LEED BD+C of WSP USA, will present on two aspects of the museum. This includes the HVAC design and the commissioning of the design, as well as the consultancy on the corona, the exterior cladding finish for the significant screen wall visible from grade.

The majority of the museum and much of its collection is contained below grade. The dominating architectural feature for the museum is derived from African art and architecture, with two superstructures shaped like crowns, referred to as the “corona.” It rises from a porch-inspired base in the form of a canopy that provides shelter from the summer sun and channels breezes flowing from a water feature below. The corona is bronze in color and extends towards the sky and is meant to be a shimmering vision of reflection. The façade form and color have a significant impact on the vision for NMAAHC and the Smithsonian. 

 WHEN: Tuesday, April 13, 2021, 12:00 PM to 1:30 PM.
WHERE: Online webinar.
FEE: Registration (members, non-members, life members, students): $5.
One (1.0) Professional Development Hour (PDH) will be awarded for attendance.

About the Speakers

Carla Thomas McGinnis, Assistant Director of Council Operations and Museum Initiatives, Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture Carla Thomas McGinnis serves as the Assistant Director of Council Operations and Museum Initiatives at the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC). She has spent her career in the arts and culture sector, working in and between education, theater, and museum spaces. She got her start at The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, in Detroit, MI, her hometown. In the DC area, she worked as a directing fellow and project manager for Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater. Working with one of DC's first charter schools, she pioneered an arts integration curriculum and drama program. Previously, at the NMAAHC she served on the grand opening planning team, as well as leading efforts in fundraising, donor stewardship and advisory board management, including helping to successfully grow their Ambassadors Program to almost 1,000 people. In addition to her role at the Museum, Carla also teaches in the graduate program of the College of Visual and Performing Arts at George Mason University. Today, Carla is happy to share with you more about the Museum and some of their latest projects and initiatives.
Paul E. Totten, PE, LEED AP, Vice President, Building Enclosures, WSP USA Paul E. Totten is a Vice President at WSP USA and leads the Building Enclosures Division. He has over 24 years of experience in the fields of structural engineering, building enclosure design and commissioning, and building science. He is a member of NIBS, ASHRAE, and USGBC including the EA TAG. Paul was a committee member of the National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS) Guideline 3 - Exterior Enclosure Technical Requirements for the Commissioning Process.
Dave Nichols, CBCP, LEED BD+C, Vice President, Commissioning, WSP USA Dave Nichols is a Vice President at WSP USA and leads the Southeast Region Commissioning Practice. He has over 31 years of experience in the fields of planning and coordination of activities concerned with the construction, commissioning and maintenance of structures, facilities, and systems. He has concentrated his expertise on the evaluation and analysis of mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems through the development and implementation of advanced building management and analytics systems. He is a member and contributor to the Building Commissioning Association National Capital Chapter. He is the past chair for the Building Commissioning Association professional ethics committee.

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Welcome to the website of the National Capital Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), a professional society for civil engineers.  ASCE was founded in 1852, represents 130,000 members of the civil engineering professional worldwide, and is America's oldest national engineering society.

The National Capital Section was founded in 1916 and currently has more than 3,100 members.  The section is located in Region 2 (link to region 2: The National Capital Section serves the District of Columbia; the counties of Montgomery and Prince Georges in Maryland, except College Park in Prince Georges County; the counties of Fairfax and Arlington, and City of Alexandria in Virginia. The National Capital Section's mission includes:

  • To advance the professional knowledge and improve the practice of civil engineering for our members and those we serve.
  • To advocate for our profession with those whose actions affect us, and to educate those whose actions and responsibilities could benefit from a better understanding of the contributions of civil engineers.
  • To improve our community through effective community outreach programs, local involvement and educational efforts.

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