Mitchell House is pleased to announce that it has won the Nantucket Preservation Trust’s 2012 Architectural Preservation Award!
Since 1999, the Mitchell House has been hard at work on numerous conservation projects to preserve the House and its contents. Through numerous grants, many from the Nantucket Community Preservation Act Committee, the Mitchell House curator has been able to work with conservators and other specialists to: clean and stabilize the 1850s grain painting; contract with a structural engineer for a survey of the House; work with a leading environmental engineering group to study the climate changes within the unheated House; conserve the 1790 chimney with original materials, specifically lime mortar. The individuals who have worked on the House include Sanford Kendall of Sanford Kendall Old House Restoration, Nantucket; mason Pen Austin, Nantucket; Rich Sileo and Ernie Conrad of Landmark Facilities Group Inc., Norwalk, Connecticut; Shelly Sass of Sass Conservation Inc., Charlottesville, Virginia; John Kraus of Magic Brush, Inc., Greensboro, North Carolina; Frank Welsh of Welsh Color and Conservation, Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania; Richard Irons of Richard Irons Restoration Masons, Limerick, Maine; James Tyler of James Tyler Painting, Nantucket; and John Wathne of Structures-North, Salem, Massachusetts. A most special thank you to all of them for making the process so easy and for a job more than well-done. I have learned a tremendous amount from each of them – and still do – whether it’s monitoring environmental loggers or assisting in the resistance drilling of the House to inspect for signs of rot. A thank you also to the cheerleaders and supporters of the Mitchell House, especially past members of the Mitchell House Committee, and to the MMA and its founders for its foresight in the preservation of the House going all the way back to the MMA’s founding in 1902 by Maria Mitchell’s family, students, and friends.
The Mitchells’ Vestal Street Home (right) and the memorial observatory built in 1908. (Collection of Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association)
According to Nantucket Preservation Trust, it works each year to recognize “individuals and organizations that advance the cause of historic preservation on Nantucket. Awards are provided for preservation work on historic buildings and landscapes, and for the protection and stewardship of island resources. NPT’s awards emphasize proper preservation, showcase the island’s craftspeople, and reveal the foresight of owners who care about our historic structures and landscapes.” For more information concerning the awards and NPT’s work, you can visit their website at: www.nantucketpreservation.org.
This is exciting news for the Mitchell House and for the conservators and professionals who have worked so hard to help the House maintain its original fabric. Mitchell House is very much in its original early nineteenth century condition – an unusual thing for a historic house museum built in 1790. If you have not visited the House or not visited in some time, please plan to do so this summer. The work will always be ongoing – and it is as we speak as I work on more grants for work to be completed and the root cellar is getting another coat of lime mortar – for a historic house is a lot of work to keep in its original condition!