In 1930, the Peale Museum was saved from possible demolition. Over a hundred years of varied use had left the Robert Cary Long, Sr. deigned building in disrepair, and the city government was seriously considering its sale. Baltimore residents and journalists rallied to protect one of the first museum buildings erected in the western hemisphere. Eventually the Mayor was convinced and Rembrandt Peale’s Baltimore Museum was targeted for a complete rehabilitation.
Assigned to head the restoration project was local architect John H. Scarff, a partner in the Wyatt and Nolting firm. Scarff studied original drawings and historic photographs of the salon, and restored its original design and floor plan. The portico was rebuilt and a bas-relief sculpture, conceived by R. McGill Mackall and executed by Benjamin Turner Kurtz, was installed above it. In the building’s rear, a courtyard was constructed with pediment from the demolished Union Bank building embedded in its northern wall. The city reopened the museum in 1931.