The fate of the Gettysburg Cyclorama Building reached a new phase last week when the Park Service contracted with consultants Vanasse Hangen Brustlin to perform an environmental impact study of the 1962 building. As many of you know the Park Service intended to demolish the Richard Neutra designed structure a few years ago after completion of the new visitors center. Those plans were complicated by advocates who maintained the building should be saved for its historic and architectural significance.
The Park Service essentially has three options, though the final decision maybe be out of the hands of the NPS: keep the building on its current site, move it to another location, raze it. Several months ago the Park Service announced it was seriously exploring option two.
This writer’s preference is either to demolish the structure or find a new home for it. I have made my argument here before and so won’t repeat it. The report will be be available to the public in early 2012.
The new home for the Gettysburg cyclorama in the visitors center was long overdue and others are taking notice. Today a group from Atlanta travelled to Gettysburg to inspect the new facility and make recommendations for Atlanta’s own cyclorama. That painting is housed in a late nineteenth century structure (above) that cannot offer the protection the delicate artwork needs. Moreover, the building is located in a part of the city that is now off the beaten path for most Atlantans. Attendance has been declining for some time. And what indifference cannot kill off, shrinking budgets might. Finding a longterm solution to the Atlanta cyclorama’s financial and other problems may be easier said than done.