Historic House Museums


c. 1760 Mount Vernon, Servant’s Hall, Fairfax County, VA. The interior walls of the Servant’s Hall, or the North Dependency, of George Washington’s Virginia estate were rendered using historically accurate lime/hair plaster, the formula for which had been determined through material analysis of existing period plaster. c. 1730 Stratford Hall, Stratford, VA. Water damage to the ground floor of the Lee family seat necessitated period plaster replacement. c.1840 Goodwood Plantation, Tallahassee, FL. A combination of vibration and water leaks contributed to the damage of these two important ceilings. These ceilings have the earliest known frescos in Florida and were in danger of immediate collapse. The ceilings were brought back into plane, the medallions repaired and reinstalled as needed, and the cracks raked out and filled. The final treatment was to inject an acrylic adhesive between the plaster and the lath to give the ceiling monolithic stability again. c.1784 The Solitude, Philadelphia Zoo, Philadelphia, PA. This estate house, built by John Penn, had water damage in one corner of the library ceiling. The original stucco corner medallion was taken down, stripped of its paint, repaired, and restored to its original position. The surrounding area of loss was in-filled and the enriched cornice corner was replaced. c.1819 Richardson-Owens-Thomas House, Savannah, GA. Considered the finest example of Regency Architecture in the States, designed by William Jay, the Owens-Thomas house had its front drawing room, elliptical, dome ceiling resurfaced and the center medallion leaves repaired. Water damage in the upstairs hallway caused cornice damage at either end as well as in the center field. The rotten plaster was removed and replaced with new plaster. The upstairs library had the cornice repaired extensively, as well as one corner replaced completely. Other general plaster repairs were undertaken throughout the house, using both adhesive reattachment and in-kind replacements. c.1865 Park-MCCullough House, Bennington, VT. Bennington’s finest Second Empire, a 42 room mansion suffered a major failure in the Master Bedroom. The original technique used in plastering this room caused there to be no keys to hold the plaster up. Even so with just the friction of the plaster between the lath and the plaster grabbing onto the wood fiber on the face of lath, it lasted 133 years. Wire lath was attached to the area of loss, and it was filled with a historically formulated lime/hair plaster. The rest of the ceiling being at risk still was reattached from the reverse using acrylic adhesives. The second project was the replacement of an under-stair ceiling plaster and associated plaster moldings. The void perimeter was reattached with acrylic adhesives. The flat plaster was a lime/hair formulation, with the molding, bench run and applied. c. 1820 Isaiah Davenport House, Savannah, GA. This Historic Savannah Foundation Museum was extensively renovated in the 1950’s. One of the results was the Library ceiling centerpiece medallion was lost. Using the elements of the Drawing Room medallion and the Library cornice a new medallion was custom designed and installed using a multi-piece format. c.1892 Franklin-Adams House, Deadwood, South Dakota This Queen Anne style house, due to foundational movement, was structurally stabilized. After which plaster friezes were reattached with acrylic adhesives and plaster festoons were duplicated and replaced c.1865 Lockwood-Mathews Mansion, Norwalk, CT. The Lockwood-Mathews is a sixty-two room Second Empire mansion. The many-leveled roof contributed to periodic water infiltration. At the conservatory attachment to the building a water leak brought down part of the plaster soffit in the Library. The entire western soffit was removed, cleaned up and reattached in its proper position. A new bench run was installed replacing the missing piece of soffit. Then the cornice was evaluated for attachment, and reattached as necessary with acrylic adhesives and screws. #