Below is an update from Darren Boch of the National Parks Service on the Hamilton Grange National Monument.
Work continues apace in restoring Hamilton Grange National Memorial. A gate has been installed to protect the new handicap accessible lift, the Horticultural Society is continuing to care for the thirteen sweet gum trees planted on the site, and the exterior has been scraped and readied for painting. Inside the home, plaster repair is being done to the fireplace in the parlor, molding is being stripped and the exhibit team is diligently working on how best to tell the story of this Founding Father and the house he called his “sweet project.”
A National Park Service conservator steams the water-soluble historic paint off the cornice moldings in the parlor of Hamilton Grange after having used a chemical stripper (orange color) to remove the modern latex as well as the lead-based paint. The team uses bamboo picks and dental instruments for the fine detail work. The bone colored areas are where 200 years of paint has been removed to reveal the intricate detail of the egg and dart design on the molding. Once the cleaning has been done the cornice will be given a fresh coat of paint to return it to its appearance when Hamilton lived there.
A third-year graduate student in the Conservation program of the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University uses a dental pick to carefully coax decades of paint from the deep crevices of the egg and dart design on the cornice molding in the parlor of Hamilton Grange. The work is painstaking, requiring more than a month for the four-person team to clean the moldings in just the parlor.
The Hamilton Grange is expected to open Spring 2011. Check back at this website for more info.