The restoration work has begun! The furniture has been moved out of all 4 rooms being restored in Rest Cottage (Parlor, Entry Hall, Office, and Dining Room) and the wallpaper is being stripped from the walls. (Over time, we will be introducing more proper restoration terminology, but let’s start out simply, shall we?) Already we are beginning to find some interesting, and sometimes perplexing, conditions which we will share over the next several weeks.
To start off with, here are two shots of the Parlor – one a cozy space where the Willard family members could entertain guests or simply be with each other, and the other a considerably more stark room.
Next up, I will introduce Mike and Zach from Heffernan Painting Services, the company that will be doing the majority of the contractor work.
As you can see in the left picture, the wallpaper is already completely removed from the wall above the fireplace mantle. Mike is working on hand-stripping the upper part of the wall there. The picture of Zach shows him using a sander (with attached vacuum to keep down the dust) on a different wall to remove the vinyl coating of the wallpaper. That’s because the process of stripping wallpaper basically involves wetting the backing paper and wallpaper paste so that it can then be scraped off the wall. If Zach doesn’t sand off the vinyl, they would have to score the paper with a series of large X’s and then hope the water and solvent seeps in through the edges, making the task far more laborious and time-consuming (and expensive!)
That’s it for now on the room restoration activities. Keep checking back for more updates. We will be updating the site weekly.
On the collections conservation front, the following has occurred:
- Gladys has been sent to the conservation studio Litas Liparini here in Evanston to begin work
- One roll of the Polyglot Petition has also been sent to them to test the cleaning process
- The large photo of Willard’s statue in Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol is also there
- As are the 12 prints of the months of the year from the Dining Room
- The chairs in the dining room have also been picked up by Weber Furniture Service for repairs and recaning
- And, finally, Willard’s Satchel “Old Faithful” has come back from its conservation project at Restoration Division. (see related article below)
That’s it for now, but you can see that, even when we’re closed, we’re busy.