As its first challenge, the Conservancy took on determining the fate of the U.S. Custom House on Bowling Green. Left vacant by the U.S. Customs Service after its 1973 move to the World Trade Center, the Beaux-Arts palace faced an uncertain future. The project to convert the Custom House to new uses was conducted by the Conservancy with cooperation of the U.S. General Services Administration and sponsored by the Custom House Institute, an organization formed by a group of downtown businessman. The Conservancy was empowered by the G.S.A. to direct efforts to develop plans for the preservation and reuse of the building. More than two decades after it was vacated, the restored Custom House took on a new life when the National Museum of the American Indian with its incomparable collection of native artifacts opened in the public spaces in 1994.