The New War Building was erected under provisions of an act of Congress from 1939-1941 for the War Department. The Department of State moved into the New War Building, renamed New State Building, in 1947, when General George C. Marshall entered as Secretary of State. In the new building, the Secretary's office was a large two-story room, with a private elevator on the fifth floor overlooking the main entrance on 21st street. The entire New State section of the building was renamed the George C. Marshall Wing in 2001.
The Marshall Wing is currently being completely renovated to reverse the deteriorating condition of the building by replacing the antiquated building systems, upgrading the building to comply with current building standards and integrating state of the art building technology improvements to last well into the 21st century. Office space is being improved to provide a better quality of work life, while the significant original spaces and materials are retained and rehabilitated to preserve the historic qualities of the building. Restoration of the original two-story office occupied by Secretary Marshall and construction of a new Conference Center, Auditorium and Computer Center highlight the renovation and rehabilitation project.
The Department has also dedicated space in the renovated wing for a museum of American diplomacy, a place for learning and inspiration, dedicated to exploring the history, practice, and challenges of American diplomacy. It will engage visitors in learning how American diplomacy builds bridges among nations and people, in exploring the vital role it has played in the shaping of our nation, and understanding its importance to every person every day. The Museum will bring to life the dramatic and moving stories of the people who have dedicated their lives to American diplomacy.
Supported by Secretary Powell and all the living former Secretaries, the Department of State Visitor Center and National Museum of American Diplomacy will invite visitors to explore the history, practices, and challenges of American diplomacy. It will convey the message that diplomacy, which seems so abstract and remote to many, affects every person every day.