It’s been a dormitory, an army barracks, a lecture hall, an observatory, administrative offices. With a birthday in 1720, it’s older than the United States.
In its almost 300 years, Massachusetts Hall, the oldest surviving Harvard building, has stood as silent witness to the continuous metamorphosis of the campus and community surrounding it. From housing the Continental Army during the Revolution in 1775‒76 to surviving a devastating fire in 1924, the building’s resilience is largely due to meticulous preservation and maintenance spanning centuries.
Long-anticipated renovations will begin this summer and continue that tradition, preserving the building’s legacy while also bringing it into the 21st century. Significant updates include achieving compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act by installing an elevator and renovating bathrooms; improving the building’s energy efficiency by adding insulation to the roof and recaulking the window panes; repairing the exterior clock; and upgrading information technology infrastructure, among other changes.