Case Study: Scaffolding to Repair the Women’s Museum in Downtown Washington, D.C.

Posted on December 22, 2022 in Case Studies, Scaffolding

The National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA) in Washington D.C. champions the work of women artists through exhibits, online content, programs, and collections. NMWA has been located in the same building since it first opened in 1983.

As time went by, the 112-year-old iconic building was starting to show signs of its age—exterior cornices and designs were crumbling, and the original windows were cracked. Because of this, the Board decided it was time to raise the money needed for a restoration and re-imagination.

In August of 2021, the museum closed its doors, and construction work began on a multi-year total renovation of the interior and exterior of the building. Grunley Construction Company won the contracting bid and hired Scaffolding Solutions to provide the necessary scaffolding for the project. 

An Intricate and Heavy Challenge

The building itself was constructed in 1908 in the Classical Revival style, and it features an intricate terracotta design, cornices, and other complex architectural elements. Construction workers would need to remove each of the 1,200lb exterior stones and very carefully place them onto the scaffolding. 

This project had several unique challenges, such as the delicate exterior, shoring under the north and south vaults to support scaffolding, and a uniquely-engineered trolley system. Compression ties into the windows were also required.  Extensive in-house testing and engineering shop drawings were developed.

Grunley had very specific access needs that made this a highly complex job. They needed to 

get within 8 inches of access all over the building. The drawings also required Scaffolding Solutions to match and reflect the layout, while the scaffolding had to be strong enough to support the weight of the 1,200lb stones.

The Solution

Scaffolding Solutions immediately got to work and incorporated a variety of unique features into the design:

  • Lateral stability was provided by utilizing scaffolding compression ties on the lower half of the building and brick anchors above the limestone
  • Access scaffolding that extends above the hoist operations on the 5th floor
  • Shoring beneath the North and West elevation vaults- including shoring for the construction and scaffolding loads
  • Netting on scaffolding including the decorative netting on the west side – seen in the image to the right. The netting is a mural by the notable artist MISS CHELOVE.
  • Interior needle beam shoring (Needle shoring to support party wall for the new door)
  • Custom designed dual-direction trolley beam connections

After Scaffolding Solutions set up the scaffolding, construction workers realized that the stones were three times larger than initially anticipated. 

Scaffolding Solutions immediately got to work strengthening the scaffolding to support the massive weight of the stones. Despite this unforeseen issue, they kept the project on time.


Grunley Construction Company and the subcontractors are happy with the scaffolding work and Scaffolding Solution’s strict adherence to the specific contract duration to meet all timelines. The project is currently ongoing as of the writing of this case study, and the National Museum of Women in the Arts is scheduled to re-open to the public in Fall 2023. 

The Sr. Project Manager at Grunley Construction sent Scaffolding Solutions an appreciation note for our assistance on this project:

“We really appreciate your assistance with this. It wouldn’t have come together without your help. Seriously, well done and thank you!”

– Kaitlyn Poland, Sr. Project Manager,
Grunley Construction

The Exhibition Coordinator of the museum was thrilled with the progress and sent a personalized note addressed to Scaffolding Solutions and Grunley Construction, praising their work on the custom netting that was made by a local muralist of note:

“Please pass my praise along to everyone with Grunley and Scaffolding Solutions who worked on this – especially the crew that was up on the scaffolding making all the many little adjustments! This has certainly been a collective and collaborative effort, and I’m so appreciative of all involved.”

– Hannah Shambroom
Exhibition Coordinator, National Museum of Women in the Arts

After a few more months of working together, the Exhibition Coordinator of the museum sent us another note regarding their experience working with Grunley Construction and Scaffolding Solutions:

“Katharina and her team couldn’t stop talking about how much they enjoyed working with all of you, and how wonderful the collaboration between all parties was”

– Hannah Shambroom, Exhibition Coordinator, National Museum of Women in the Arts

Scaffolding Solutions team making adjustments to the custom netting.
Museum and Scaffolding Solutions team members working together to ensure the custom netting is placed correctly.

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Lynn PierceLynn Pierce ★★★★★ Great service! Exceptional communication! I’m greatly to worked with Scaffolding Solutions.John WoodJohn Wood ★★★★★ Our heavy mechanical construction company have worked with Scaffolding Solutions for years now. Scaffolding Solutions are amazingly fast, responsive, & professional. They always exceed our expectations! Mr. Frank Giuliano is absolutely the best. Frank is always accommodating, extremely knowledgeable and always “safety first” in his approach to our scaffolding needs. We manage heavy mechanic projects within the transportation industry for Government agencies and Scaffolding Solutions & Mr Giuliano always exceed our clients needs. We highly recommend Scaffolding Solutions & Mr. Frank Giuliano for any, commercial or residential projects, you or your company has. 5 STARS! OUTSTANDING QUALITY WORK! GREAT COMPETITIVE RATES!Response from the ownerThank you, John! We are proud to be your "access partner of choice". Looking forward to many more successful projects to come. Thank you for your business! Hal CoganHal Cogan ★★★★★ Frank and his team with Scaffolding Solutions were great! Even with last minute changes and numerous headaches the day of they still got the job done. I look forward to working with them again!Response from the ownerThank you, Hal! Our goal is to provide the best service, safety and pricing of any other access company in the DMV. Exceeding your expectations is our mission! Hann HannHann Hann ★★★★★ Frank & his team didn't meet our expectations, they exceeded them. Everyone was extremely professionally throughout the project. Communication was over the top. Couldn't have asked for more complete turnkey service. Scaffolding Solutions is top of the list for any scaffold or shoring needs.Response from the ownerThank you! The amazing partnership, friendship and teamwork we have with Hann and Hann is what we're all about. We appreciate your business! rolando Tobarrolando Tobar ★★★★★ Great work & access to all kind of work ...The best in the DMVResponse from the ownerThank you Rolando! Our goal is to provide the best service of any other access company in the DMV. Kevin TaylorKevin Taylor ★★★★★ The team at Scaffold Solutions really got me out of a bind this past week. Set-up scaffold on Saturday morning and came back Sunday morning to take it back down. Communication was great, speed and safety were excellent and price was fair. I appreciate the solid communication and follow-up from their team and they did a great job helping me get the steel installed in the elevator shaft. Thank you!Response from the ownerThank you Kevin! We were very happy to partner with you on this work and "get it done". Safety, communication, speed - and great pricing. You hit the nail on the head my friend! Diana MiraldiDiana Miraldi ★★★★★ Response from the ownerThank you for your 5-star review Diana! Giselle AllenGiselle Allen ★★★★★ I recently had my fourth floor loft terrace enclosed. Scaffolding Solutions, LLC is the only choice you need to ensure your project is successful! Frank Giuliano visited my home and assessed the area, then coordinated with the Patio Enclosure installation manager to build a custom design that was efficient for the project. Frank’s customer service was remarkable. He constantly communicated updates and I felt very comfortable contacting him with any questions. The scaffolding crew only took one day to assemble and disassemble the scaffold without incident. They were pleasant, professional and respectful of my property. Hands down this was the best experience and I definitely recommend Scaffolding Solutions, LLC.Response from the ownerThank you Giselle! We were happy to be able to help you with your project...and are very glad the experience was so positive for you. Have an amazing day! G Man PalenciaG Man Palencia ★★★★★ Joe PodgurskiJoe Podgurski ★★★★★ fernando santos sanchezfernando santos sanchez ★★★★★ el lugar luce muy bonito, la atención muy amableMichael MatiasMichael Matias ★★★★★ Ruff Ryder SincereRuff Ryder Sincere ★★★★★ Response from the ownerThank you Ruff! We appreciate your business and look forward to many more successful projects together! Luis Jomar Rodriguez SanchezLuis Jomar Rodriguez Sanchez ★★★★★ Shannon WalkerShannon Walker ★★★★★ Charles AppichCharles Appich ★★★★★ Richard WhiteRichard White ★★★★★ Chad EssexChad Essex ★★★★★ Andi LopezAndi Lopez ★★★★★ Muy buenoDomonic ClardyDomonic Clardy ★★★★★ David BucciarelliDavid Bucciarelli ★★★★★ Fantastic companyMatthew AlemanMatthew Aleman ★★★★★ i love the work they did at DCJose PietriJose Pietri ★★★★★ Great company and innovative scaffolds!Diana DuVallDiana DuVall ★★★★★ The best service and competitive pricing!Tony BullockTony Bullock ★★★★★ I work hereJoel DiazJoel Diaz ★★★★★ Timmy WilloughbyTimmy Willoughby ★★★★★ Scaffolding Solutions... All I can say is "WOW". I was impressed with the professionalism, courtesy and efficiency of the complete experience.js_loader