Spotlight: National Museum of the American Indian

During 2020 we helped with revamping 2 ponds at the National Museum of the American Indian, one becoming apart of the National Native American Veterans Memorial. Our process included removing the previous pond area and helping construction and bring in new liners, clay, and 3 previous rocks. The project was new and different than those in the past but it was a site we enjoyed working at and love to see the new memorial shining bright.


In contrast to what we typically do here at Tammal this spotlight is going to broadcast the different ways we can bring the demolition field to non demolition projects. Bringing into focus our first spotlight of Tammal Talk is The National Museum of the American Indian Smithsonian. Started and finished the project of constructing a pond out front of the museum fort The National Native American Veterans Memorial.

The project was no small feet as we were only working on the existing areas inside walls from the sidewalks next to the National Mall and could not disturb those as we worked throughout the construction. A challenge that presented itself as we put in the ramp was to get two 26 ton excavators over the walls, which was achieved with large timber cribbing to create ramps and bridges for machine access. There were five phases that took place with some happening simultaneously which included, removal, ramp construction, bio pond, main pond, and installation of stormwater structures. During each phase of the project the layout of each was critical in ensuring that what was existing was not disturb throughout and still intact once the project was finished. To ensure that we followed through without disturbing anything we first had to complete the ramp crossing to the knee walls and the perimeter knees walls so they were protected during the project when machines and materials were removed, recycled and brought in. In total the ramp construction took 22 days. Before any construction of the pond our first job was to remove the old pond soil, debris and and the 3 large rocks that were reused in the new memorial. Each rock weighed around 8,000 lbs making the process not so easy getting them out and back in but it was a fun one to watch and proved the ramp constructed was a success.

As we continued up next were the bio and main ponds which needed installation of the Bentonite liner system that then needed half of its soil volume on top of it, which presented a challenge as the forecast for the night we put the liner in presented rain, therefore having us work extra fast so the soil was on the liner before the rain hit therefore not creating a problem after it was already in. Luckily our crew was able to get that done so we could continue with no issues. The crew was not only able to manage to work quickly but they were able to manage getting in 837 cubic yards of clay soil around the new memorial. It was a challenge everyone enjoyed. As mentioned the crew had to work around the new memorial at the main pond which created a perfect right angle that included the welcome plaza with an eternal flame for the prayer circle overlooking the pond. Overall being apart of projects for the Smithsonian is a great honor and a partner we enjoy working with but this project at the National Museum of the American Indian was one we will never forget because we were able to help create a beautiful memorial for the National Native American Veterans Memorial.



Some Statistics:

  • We used 16 pieces of equipment from Georgia buggies to 26 ton excavators

  • Ramp took 22 days

  • Bio pond took 8 days

  • Main pond took 28 days

  • Installation of storm structures took 26 days

  • Removed 942 cubic yards

  • Placed 418 cubic yards of clay soil in one day

  • Each Bentonite liner roll weighed 6,200 lbs

  • 3 rocks weighing around 8,000 lbs each were removed and reinstalled



Check out the beautiful memorial in the photos below.







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