Setting the scene

MCA enhances the quality and strength of our cultural and civic life by providing professional services to museums, state and municipal governments, and a variety of community-based and nonprofit organizations. As always, our corporate mandate is paramount – Do the Right Thing. For institutions working within often tight budget constraints while delivering first-class experiences and service to our communities, nothing less is acceptable. We have been privileged to associate with some inspiring organizations and leverage our experience and expertise in helping them to meet and exceed their expectations.

Cultural + Civic

MCA was formed to serve the needs of large institutional clients, and we have been honored to work with several world-class museum institutions in providing the wide range of services required by this specialized client type. Our projects for museum institutions range from “maintenance and repair” design to highly specialized gallery upgrade work to large capital projects. Regardless of project scale and type, we service all with equal attention to the basics – program appropriateness, budget, schedule and superior design that is responsive to the institutional mission. Our professionals work as a team with Museum Directors and their staff, and on occasion have even worked directly with renowned artists on occasions where their artwork has been directly integrated into the fabric of the building. Our professional staff remain involved in the museum community through membership in museum organizations, attendance at conferences and through museum volunteer work. We have built strong relationships with strategic specialty consultants in museum-specific specialties from lighting and display design to specialized mechanical and electrical systems systems expertise. Our professional services range from whole-facility building and envelope assessments and repair/replacement design, through master-planning, programming fund-raising support and our full range of design services. We have worked with our museum clients through long term indefinite delivery/on-call/IDIQ contract arrangements and delivered projects through design/bid/build and with CM at Risk teams.


Harvard University – Dumbarton Oaks Gallery Upgrades

State and Local Governments have the same complex needs as any large institutional clients that own, occupy and maintain a large and diverse portfolio of real estate and physical plant assets. In addition, they are often subject to stringent and occasionally unpredictable funding environments. Sometimes rigidly prescribed procurement requirements designed to foster competition can occasionally make it difficult to always obtain best value or current best practice results. And their work is always subject to larger amounts of public scrutiny, comment and revision as compared to other institutional clients. MCA has served our Civic clients successfully since our founding – from citywide Space Utilization Master Plans to the repair, renovation, re-use and replacement of aging buildings. We have designed projects from new courts buildings to the adaptive re-use of historic public buildings. We work on individual capital projects and under long-term IDIQ contracts. It turns out that our corporate mindset towards serving large institutional organizations lends itself very successfully to the needs of our our civic clients. And the wide array of project-types and service sectors that MCA is involved in allow us to offer the experience necessary to serve the wide variety of facilities needs required by our civic clients.


    MCA & The National Park Service

    MCA is working as a team architect to participate in design solutions for the FEA and NPS. We have used our advanced knowledge of architectural systems to perform studies and design charrettes from the striking mountains of Yosemite to the historical site of Manassas National Battlefield. As an ongoing effort, we are quickly expanding our portfolio to bring our efforts to new projects across the United States.

    Although all three of our offices are located in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia, we are not limited to being heavily involved with projects as far as Hawaii. To view more about our partnership with the FEA and NPS, see our portfolio page.

  • MCA & Renfro Design Group measured and modeled lighting for the BMA West Wing Galleries

    Our Practice

    The Art of Lighting: Modeling Exhibit Lighting

    Lighting is one of the most crucial elements when designing exhibit space. It affects the way art is perceived by the viewer. If there is too little light, the visitor may not see intricate details. If there is too much light, or the wrong type of light, pieces may be damaged over time. Providing the perfect balance of light is an art form. Therefore, it is imperative to have an experienced lighting expert on the design team. MCA has worked collaboratively with world-class museum lighting designers and gallery directors to calculate, model and understand the gallery lighting well before it is built, to ensure the most effective results. This also may mean the analysis of natural light from existing skylights and exterior glazing in order to understand and then properly control its effect.

  • Our Practice

    Mid-Atlantic Association of Museums

    We thank those who joined us at the Stephen Weil Memorial Lecture during the Annual Meeting of the Mid-Atlantic Association of Museums (MAAM). MCA is thrilled that MAAM’s virtual annual meeting was a rousing success. The content was insightful and provocative, as it always is. However, the greatest impact was the opportunity for the museum community to reunite in one (digital) place. We hope you enjoyed the first virtual MAAM Annual Meeting and were as fascinated as our team by the exceptional content. Click the image to view our video or follow this link for the MCA + Mid-Atlantic Association of Museums (MAAM) Annual Meeting on Vimeo

  • Our Practice

    A/E Services Term Contract with the VMFA

    MCA is serving on the team for the Architecture and Engineering Services Term Contract with the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.

    This contract is open-ended and spans the gamut of design services required by a dynamic and growing museum, which is central to the art community of Virginia. Previous projects include the podium design and landscape architecture integration for the outside sculpture installation “Chloe” by Jaume Plensa; ongoing building structural and exterior envelope repairs due to water infiltration; alterations to the collections storage areas; exterior repairs and historic column repairs; studio and early childhood development classroom alterations; fire rated glass repair and replacement; and miscellaneous accessibility upgrades.

  • Our Practice

    White Gloves Gang

    MCA is pleased to sponsor and participate in the Mid-Atlantic Association of Museums (MAAM) Annual Meeting. We look forward to being able to participate in the volunteer “White Gloves Gang” Day of Service again. In years past MCA’s museum design team volunteered on projects at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture, the Johns Hopkins Evergreen Library & Museum and the Maryland Fire Museum. While at the Conference in Pittsburgh, MCA’s Veronica Plishke enjoyed assisting the Andy Warhol Museum in completing a collections project. MCA is a proud member of MAAM and we look forward to seeing our clients and colleagues at future meetings.

Ready to Work on Your Next Cultural + Civic Project?

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