Thursday, August 25, 2011
Friday, August 19, 2011
So you may be wondering what this means for Stratford Hall. The answer is that we do not know...yet. In May 2011, representatives from our six partner sites for this project (Darnall's Chance, Fonthill, Menokin, Stonewall Jackson House, Durant-Kenrick House, and Governor Henry Lippitt House) and consultants started to flush out what we wanted to do and what is possible. One thing we are looking at is adding smartphone tours to our interpretive offerings.
This photo is from a visit to Versailles with my friends in 2007 . You will notice that we are all about ten feet away from each other while listening to an audioguide. It is a challenge to introduce an interpretive device without isolating the visitor from everything and everyone else. This type of detached and passive tour is what we are looking to avoid using the new technology available today.
So we are asking for your thoughts.
- Do you like guided tours or to explore on your own?
- Have you ever used an audioguide or smartphone tour while touring a historic site? What do you like/dislike about them?
Friday, August 12, 2011
As this summer’s Building Preservation/Restoration Intern, I had the wonderful opportunity to work on some of the many historic structures at Stratford Hall and to gain hands-on skill and knowledge under the tutelage of Director of Preservation Phil Mark. Over the past ten weeks, I got to try my hand at masonry, wood repair, glazing and of course (everyone’s favorite) scraping, sanding and painting at the Slave Quarters, the Great House and in the workshop.
My main project, however, was the repair of the Great House second floor windows. Working on a scaffold fifteen feet in the air, I set about giving each 32-pane window some much-needed TLC. I assessed the level of failure of glazing putty and paint, removed and replaced failed putty, scraped failed paint, sanded, primed and painted each window.
Occasionally I encountered some more advanced damage than cracked putty and peeling paint, like I did on window 220. The sill on 220 had a patch of spongy, rotten wood which, when removed, revealed a baseball-sized void.
Following Phil’s sage advice, I began to repair this hole (and several large checks emanating from it) with a three step process. First the hole and checks were treated with a termiticide, insecticide and fungicide concentrate to stave off further decay. Next, a two-step liquid epoxy resin was applied to consolidate and seal the checks and interior of the void.
…and primed and painted with the rest of the sill.
The result may not knock your socks off—in fact, from the ground you may not notice any difference at all. Someone once told me that when preservation work is done well, no one knows you’ve been there at all. I can only hope that in time, the work I’ve done this summer helps the windows of the great house last another few hundred years—or at least until Phil can convince another intern to climb up there...
This summer has been a wonderful learning experience in an idyllic place with some of the nicest people I’ve ever met, and although it was probably the hottest summer I can remember, it was also one of the best.
Best wishes from Stratford Hall,
Building Preservation/Restoration Intern, Summer 2011