Across three sites, the American Civil War Museum offers one of the nation’s most extensive collections of Confederate artifacts in its mission to explore the conflict from multiple perspectives. Its latest enhancement is a 28,500-sf concrete, steel, and glass structure located between Tredegar Iron Work’s historic Pattern and administration buildings. Schnabel performed vibration monitoring services for the project.

Set into the Richmond, Virginia, hillside, the new $13.5 million building features expanded gallery spaces, an experience theater, and improved artifact storage and preservation areas. It also cleverly incorporates ruins from the Tredegar Iron Works, which supplied about half of the artillery used by the Confederate States Army during the war.

Tredegar is a National Historic Landmark and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and the Virginia Landmarks Register. With the promise of future protection from the elements, the mid-19th century ruin had to first survive intrusive construction activities, which included preparation of a micropile foundation and raising the grade in front of the wall by moving soil from the slope behind it.

Prior to the start of construction, we collected ambient data to establish the baseline vibrations at four locations around the site, including the administration building, the museum building, and two locations on the wall itself. We used the results of the study to develop recommended criteria for maximum allowable vibrations during construction. We installed crack gauges on the ruin wall to monitor crack movement and also conducted vibration monitoring during construction.

© Keith Isaacs