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Putting the “art” in state-of-the-art

Installation Spotlight | June 1, 2021 | By:

Rainier Tent helped the Mercer Museum turn a large patio space into a dynamic event space. Photos courtesy of Rainier Tent.

Rainier Tent designs and installs a custom tent for a historic museum. 

The Mercer Museum, a 6-story concrete castle located in Doylestown, Penn., is recognized as a National Historic Landmark and home to more than 40,000 early American artifacts. From horse-drawn carriages and a Conestoga wagon to thousands of pre-Industrial tools, the museum is visited annually by more than 65,000 people from around the world.  

Recently, the Mercer Museum was looking to transform its outdoor patio space into a dynamic, state-of-the-art event space that could accommodate more guests. The museum turned to Rainier Tent, Tukwila, Wash., to design, manufacture and install a custom tent that would conform to the museum’s irregular patio space.  

Installation was scheduled to begin during the early months of 2020, just as the COVID-19 pandemic set hold on the country. “The install was postponed a number of times,” says Larry Ott, Northeast Commercial Tent Sales Representative for Rainier Tent. “Once restrictions were lifted, we were able to begin the installation in May.”

The tent was designed as a custom structure scaling up from a 30-foot-wide space into a 40-foot-wide space. “This tent was selected because of the unique design,” says Ott. “Specialized base plates were also designed to capture the wall space surrounding the patio space.” A separate bar area was installed to help increase seating space.

An especially difficult design maneuver involved a “well” with steps leading to the museum. The Rainier team developed 10 to 13-foot legs to handle the differential between the floor height and the bottom of the well.

Not wanting to rob guests of the stunning view of the Mercer Museum’s architectural features—which are especially breathtaking at night when illuminated by ground lights—Rainier designed the top of the tent to include clear sections so that the castle would be visible from the event space. Rainier also installed custom sidewalls to hide the ground lights. Each sidewall offers the museum the flexibility to either provide its guests with a visibly clear roofing area or a completely covered space.  

Overall, it took Rainier three days and approximately eight team members to complete the installation. According to Ott, the client could not have been happier with the outcome of the installation. 

“The museum and the exclusive caterer have been able to book more events due to the increased capacity and the elevated level of sophistication to the venue,” says Ott. The tent will remain up for several months per year for many years to come.

Project notes

One custom tent scaling up from a 30-foot-wide space into a 40-foot-wide space

10-to-13-foot-long tent legs

Custom base plates

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