2015 Georgian Group Architectural Awards

Posted in on site by Editor on December 23, 2015

Landmark Trust Belmont 3(1)

Richard Samuel Coade, Belmont (Lyme Regis, Dorset), 1785, the home of Eleanor Coade; appropriately the house showcases the eponymous artificial stone she pioneered.

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The 2015 Georgian Group Architectural Awards were announced earlier in December. This year two joint winners share the award for Restoration of a Georgian Interior: the private apartment at Sir John Soane’s Museum and the Soane Tribune at Wotton House. The award for Restoration of a Georgian Building in an Urban Setting recognizes Belmont House in Lyme Regis (hooray for Eleanor Coade and the eponymous artificial stone she pioneered!). CH

From The Georgian Group:

Belmont House in Lyme Regis is a 1785 maritime villa looking out over the Cobb. John Fowles wrote The French Lieutenant’s Woman here. By the time he died it was in a bad state, the gardens overgrown and the structural condition of the building poor. The Landmark Trust acquired it and took the decision, at once brave and controversial, to restore it to the form known by Mrs Coade, creator of the artificial stone that bears her name. That involved demolishing what was left of the substantial Victorian and later extensions in order to make it a villa in the round. The project has been informed by meticulous building analysis and documentary research and the building is now again a thing of real beauty, a delightful monument to one of the great female entrepreneurs of the Georgian period.

The full list of awards is available here»

On Site | The Fritz Lugt Collection (Paris) and the Pars Museum (Shiraz)

Posted in on site by Editor on November 22, 2015

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From the November issue of WoI:

Valérie Lapierre, with photographs by Roland Beaufre, “Dutch Originals: The Frits Lugt Collection,” The World of Interiors (November 2015), pp. 108–17.

A connoisseur like no other, Frits Lugt was just 15 when he bought his first Rembrandt sketch (he’d already written a book). Fifty years on, he opened the Fondation Custodia in Paris [housed in the eighteenth-century Hôtel Turgot], so that generations of experts and laymen alike could share his collection of Golden Age art for free. With brocatelle-lined walls and Vermeer-inspired floors, it’s ‘the place to see drawings in Paris’, as Valérie Lapierre learns.

More information is available from the Fondation Custodia.

Marie-France Boyer, with photographs by Olivia Froudkine, “Splendour in the Grass: The Pars Museum,” The World of Interiors (November 2015), pp. 152–59.

The garden of Nazar (meaning ‘dazzling’) in the Iranian city of Shiraz is home to the jewel-like Pars Museum. Decorated with vibrant panels of tiles, this octagonal pavilion incorporates a sparkling collection of pottery, glassware and bronze work. It also houses the tomb of an enlightened ruler who oversaw an era of urban development and artistic outpouring.


Pars Museum of Shiraz, Iran, The octagonal structure, called the Kolah Farangi (‘foreign hat’) was built by Karim Khan Zand (ca. 1705–79), who is buried there (Photo: Wikimedia Commons, February 2013).

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From the Wikipedia entry for the Pars Museum:

The Pars Museum is a museum in Shiraz, Fars Province, southern Iran and is located in Nazar Garden. The octagonal building was the place in which royal guests were hosted during the Zand dynasty of Iran. It was also used for holding official ceremonies. It is also the burial place of Karim Khan Zand.

The old Nazar Garden was one of the largest gardens of Shiraz during the Safavid rule (1501–1722). During Zand dynasty (1750–1794) Karim Khan built an octagon structure which was called Kolah Farangi. It was used to receive and entertain foreign guests and ambassadors and hold official ceremonies. In 1936 the pavilion became a museum. It was the first museum which was located outside the capital city of Tehran. The brick designs, tiling, pictures and big stone dadoes are among the architectural features of the building. . . .

The Sound of Paris in the Eighteenth Century

Posted in on site, resources by Editor on July 14, 2015

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Audio Reconstruction of Eighteenth-Century Paris

A team from Université Lyon-2, led by Mylène Pardoen (Department of Music and Musicology), has reconstructed the soundscape of eighteenth-century Paris.

From Le Journal CNRS (Centre national de la recherche scientifique). . .

La musicologue Mylène Pardoen a reconstitué l’ambiance sonore du quartier du Grand Châtelet à Paris, au XVIIIe siècle. Présenté au salon de la valorisation en sciences humaines et sociales, à la Cité des sciences et de l’industrie, son projet associe historiens et spécialistes de la 3D.

Paris comme vous ne l’avez jamais entendu ! C’est l’expérience que propose la musicologue Mylène Pardoen, du laboratoire Passages XX-XXI, à travers le projet Bretez. Un nom qui n’a pas été choisi par hasard : la première reconstitution historique sonore conçue par ce collectif associant historiens, sociologues et spécialistes de la 3D1, a en effet pour décor le Paris du XVIIIe siècle cartographié par le célèbre plan Turgot-Bretez de 1739 – Turgot, prévost des marchands de Paris, en étant le commanditaire, et Bretez, l’ingénieur chargé du relevé des rues et immeubles de la capitale.

70 tableaux sonores

C’est plus précisément dans le quartier du Grand Châtelet, entre le pont au Change et le pont Notre-Dame, que la vidéo de 8 minutes 30 transporte le visiteur. « J’ai choisi ce quartier car il concentre 80 % des ambiances sonores du Paris de l’époque, raconte Mylène Pardoen. Que ce soit à travers les activités qu’on y trouve – marchands, artisans, bateliers, lavandières des bords de Seine… –, ou par la diversité des acoustiques possibles, comme l’écho qui se fait entendre sous un pont ou un passage couvert… » S’il existe déjà des vidéos sonorisées, c’est la première fois qu’une reconstitution en 3D est bâtie autour de l’ambiance sonore : les hauteurs des bâtiments comme les matériaux dans lesquels ils sont construits, torchis ou pierre, tiennent compte des sons perçus – étouffés, amplifiés… – et inversement. . . .

More information is available here»

The Alamo Now a World Heritage Site

Posted in on site by Editor on July 7, 2015


 The Alamo, San Antonio
(Wikimedia Commons, 18 April 2007)

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As reported by Reuters, via The Guardian (5 July 2015). . .

Alamo Named First World Heritage Site in Texas after Nine-Year Campaign
Spanish colonial missions in San Antonio chosen as part of 23rd US site deemed of ‘outstanding importance’ to human heritage

A United Nations agency on Sunday [5 July 2015] named the Alamo and the four Spanish colonial Catholic missions in San Antonio a World Heritage Site, making them the first places in Texas deemed to be of “outstanding cultural or natural importance to the common heritage of humanity.”

The decision capped a nine-year campaign by San Antonio and Texas to have the early 18th-century missions listed alongside world treasures such as Stonehenge, the Taj Mahal and Angkor Wat. The missions are now the 23rd World Heritage Site in the US.

“The city of San Antonio is delighted with Unesco’s decision today and the recognition that our Spanish colonial missions are of outstanding value to the people of the world,” mayor Ivy Taylor said from Bonn, Germany, where the announcement was made.

Sarah Gould, archivist at the Institute of Texan Cultures, said there were many reasons for the listing of the four missions, which are still used as Catholic churches, and the Alamo, a fortified church, barracks and other buildings that was the scene of the 1836 battle for Texan independence. . . .

But the designation has not been entirely embraced in Texas, where the phrase ‘United Nations’ provokes suspicion among some. . . .

The full article is available here»

Objects from the Slave Ship São José To Be Displayed in D.C.

Posted in conferences (to attend), exhibitions, on site by Editor on June 4, 2015

Thomas Luny (1759-1837) Oil on panel 27,5 x 43cm Iziko Social History Collections: SACHM 86/235 Photo: Pam Warne

Thomas Luny, Table Bay Cape Town, 1790s, oil on panel (Iziko Social History Collections). Depiction of the port of Cape Town, South Africa where the São José slave ship planned to stop before continuing to Brazil. The ship wrecked near the Cape of Good Hope before arriving in Table Bay. Photo by Pam Warne.

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Press release (1 June 2015) from The Smithonian:

National Museum of African American History and Culture To Display Objects from Slave Shipwreck Found Near Cape Town, South Africa

Museum Joins Iziko Museums of South Africa and George Washington University in Slave Wrecks Research Project

Objects from a slave ship that sank off the coast of Cape Town in 1794 will be on long-term loan to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC). The announcement, scheduled for Tuesday, June 2, will take place at a historic ceremony at Iziko Museums of South Africa. The discovery of the ship marks a milestone in the study of the trans-Atlantic slave trade and showcases the results of the Slave Wrecks Project, a unique global partnership among museums and research institutions, including NMAAHC and six partners in the U.S. and Africa.

Objects from the shipwreck—iron ballast to weigh down the ship and its human cargo and a wooden pulley block—were retrieved this year from the wreck site of the São José-Paquete de Africa, a Portuguese slave ship that sank off the coast of Cape Town on its way to Brazil while carrying more than 400 enslaved Africans from Mozambique.

Lonnie G. Bunch III, founding director of NMAAHC, and Rooksana Omar, CEO of Iziko Museums, will join in the announcement of the shipwreck’s discovery and the artifact loan agreement.

“Perhaps the single greatest symbol of the trans-Atlantic slave trade is the ships that carried millions of captive Africans across the Atlantic never to return,” said Bunch. “This discovery is significant because there has never been archaeological documentation of a vessel that foundered and was lost while carrying a cargo of enslaved persons. The São José is all the more significant because it represents one of the earliest attempts to bring East Africans into the trans-Atlantic slave trade—a shift that played a major role in prolonging that tragic trade for decades.”

São José Wreck

The São José’s voyage was one of the earliest in the trans-Atlantic slave trade from East Africa to the Americas, which continued well into the 19th century. More than 400,000 East Africans are estimated to have made the Mozambique-to-Brazil journey between 1800 and 1865. The ship’s crew and some of the more than 400 enslaved on board were rescued after the ship ran into submerged rocks about 100 meters (328 feet) from shore. Tragically, more than half of the enslaved people perished in the violent waves. The remainder were resold into slavery in the Western Cape.

The São José wreck site is located between two reefs, a location that creates a difficult environment to work in because it is prone to strong swells creating challenging conditions for the archaeologists. To date, only a small percentage of the site has been excavated; fully exploring the site will take time.

Even the smallest artifact gives a clue into the shipwreck’s story:

1980s: Local amateur treasure hunters discovered a wreck near Cape Town and mistakenly identified it as the wreck of an earlier Dutch vessel. They applied for a permit under the legislation of the time and had to report their findings.

2008–2009: The Slave Wrecks Project (SWP) staff identified the São José as a target for location in its pilot project.

2010–2011: Jaco Boshoff, the co-originator of SWP, served as lead archaeologist for Iziko and primary investigator for the São José project. He discovered the captain’s account of the wrecking of the São José in the Cape archives. New interest was developed on the site. Copper fastenings and copper sheathing indicated a wreck of a later period, and iron ballast—often found on slave ships and other ships as a means of stabilizing the vessel—was found on the wreck.

2012–2013: SWP uncovered an archival document in Portugal stating that the São José had loaded iron ballast before she departed for Mozambique, further confirming the site as the São José wreck. Archaeological documentation of the wreck site began in 2013.

2014–2015: Some of the first artifacts are brought above water through a targeted retrieval process according to the best archaeological and preservation practices. Using CT scan technology because of the fragility of the site, the SWP identified the remains of shackles on the wreck site, a difficult undertaking because of extreme iron corrosion. Archival research locates a document in which a slave is noted as sold by a local sheikh to the São José’s captain before its departure, definitively identifying Mozambique Island as the port of departure for the slaving voyage. Archival and archaeological prospecting work was launched in Mozambique and Brazil in order to identify sites related to the São José story for future research.

2015–ongoing: Full archaeological documentation and retrieval of select items to help to tell of the São José wreck site continue; the search for descendant communities of Mozambicans from the wreck also continues.

A selection of artifacts retrieved from the São José wreck will be loaned by Iziko Museums and the South African government for display in an inaugural exhibition titled Slavery and Freedom at NMAAHC, opening fall 2016. Iziko Museums also plans an exhibition.

Memorial Service

On Tuesday, June 2, soil brought from Mozambique Island, the site of the São José’s embarkation, will be deposited on the wreck site by a team represented by divers from Mozambique, South Africa and the United States. A solemn memorial service will also be held close by and on shore honoring the 500 enslaved Mozambicans who lost their lives or were sold into slavery. SWP researchers, Cape Town dignitaries and delegations from the U.S. Consulate and South African government will attend the private ceremony.


A daylong public symposium, Bringing the São José into Memory, will be held June 3 featuring a series of panel discussions focusing on the wreck, the slave trade, slavery, history and memory. The panels will take place at the Iziko Museums’ TH Barry Lecture Theatre and feature discussions and performances by scholars, curators, heritage activists, artists, hip-hop musicians and slave descendants from various academic, heritage and religious institutions, including Iziko, St. George’s Cathedral, NMAAHC, George Washington University, Syracuse University, Brown University, University of Western Cape, Cape Family Research Forum among others.

Maritime Archaeology and Conservation Workshop

The week’s activities will also include a conservation workshop for archaeologists, researchers and museum professionals from Mozambique, Senegal and South Africa to learn techniques in conservation and care for marine materials. This workshop, co-taught by Boshoff and George Schwarz of the U.S. Naval Heritage Command, is an opportunity to advance professional training and capacity for individuals and institutions, a core component of SWP’s mission. Representatives from Eduardo Mondlane University in Maputo, Mozambique, and Cheik Anta Diop University in Dakar, Senegal, will join with Smithsonian and Iziko professionals in a dialogue about current and future research and searches in their respective regions.

Slave Wrecks Project History

Founded in 2008, SWP brings together partners who have been investigating the impact of the slave trade on world history. It spearheaded the recent discovery of the São José wreck and the ongoing documentation and retrieval of select artifacts. In addition, extensive archival research was conducted on four continents in six countries that ultimately uncovered the ship captain’s account of the wrecking in the Cape archives as well as the ship’s manifest in Portuguese archives. Core SWP partners include George Washington University, Iziko Museums of South Africa, the South African Heritage Resource Agency, the U.S. National Park Service, Diving With a Purpose, a project of the National Association of Black Scuba Divers, and the African Center for Heritage Activities.

SWP, established with funding from the Ford Foundation, set a new model for international collaboration among museums and research institutions. It has been combining groundbreaking slave shipwreck investigation, maritime and historical archeological training, capacity building, heritage tourism and protection, and education to build new scholarship and knowledge about the study of the global slave trade.

Historic Buildings of Armagh and Monaghan in Context

Posted in conferences (to attend), on site, opportunities by Editor on May 31, 2015

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From the Irish Georgian Society:

Conservation without Frontiers: Historic Buildings of Armagh and Monaghan in Context
Armagh and Monaghan, 25–27 June 2015

For the first time, the joint Ulster Architectural Heritage Society and Irish Georgian Society summer school will bring together students, enthusiasts and practitioners to explore, discuss and debate issues relating to our shared Irish heritage in the context of Armagh and Monaghan. A key theme of the event is conservation and regeneration for community benefit which will demonstrate the critical importance of built heritage in maintaining the distinctive qualities of the region and supporting the growth of tourism, economic development and prosperity. The summer school will provide a platform to showcase the best that both counties have to offer in terms of their history and heritage. Leaders will include well known academics, architectural historians, architects, planners, conservation and heritage officers. The support of both councils will also reinforce the positive developing relationship between them and our respective organisations. An Eventbrite payment has been set up to facilitate online bookings in euro or sterling. The summer school director is Kevin V. Mulligan, author of The Buildings of Ireland: South Ulster.

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T H U R S D A Y ,  2 5  J U N E  2 0 1 5
• Conservation Areas — the legislation and implementation
• New work and reordering: current practice in England
• Tour of cathedrals with Alistair Rowan
• Tour of Mall and Market Square with Alastair Coey
• Presentation on the work of Thomas Cooley and Francis Johnston by Judith Hill at Armagh Public Library
• Tour of Palace Demesne with Edward McParland
Speakers: Patrick Duffy, Michael O’Neill, Frederick O’Dwyer, Andrew Derrick, Marcus Patton

F R I D A Y ,  2 6  J U N E  2 0 1 5
• Tour of Castle Leslie
• Introduction to heritage and housing
• Discussion on cross border heritage initiatives
The Buildings of Ireland Series
• Tour of Glaslough
• Visit Lady Anne Dawson Mausoleum, Dartrey, St. Peter’s Church, Laragh and St. Macartan’s Cathedral, Monaghan
• Walking tour of Monaghan with Kevin Mulligan
• Discussion and debate at Market House, Monaghan
Speakers: Dawson Stelfox, Andrew McClelland, Alistair Rowan, Bishop Joseph Duffy

S A T U R D A Y ,  2 7  J U N E  2 0 1 5
• Tour of Annaghmakerrig House
• Debate: Contemplating the Contemporary — Modernist vs. traditional approach to building in the historic environment in the 21st century, chaired by Frank McNally with speakers Aidan McGrath, Liam Mulligan, Nicholas Groves-Raines
• Results and viewing of student competition
• Presentation of Summer School Student Awards
• Conclusion with celebratory lunch

This course is approved for CPD by the Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland; the programme is subject to change.

Sir John Soane’s Private Apartments and Model Room

Posted in on site by Editor on May 18, 2015

From Sir John Soane’s Museum:

Soane Tour: Private Apartments and Model Room
Sir John Soane’s Museum, London, starting May 19

Watercolour by C .J. Richardson ca. 1834-35

Sir John Soane’s Model Room, watercolour by C. J. Richardson ca. 1834–35

Explore Soane’s unique house-museum with our expert staff on the Soane Highlights Tour. Be transported back to Regency London as we guide you through Sir John Soane’s extraordinary home, including Soane’s fully-restored private apartments and Model Room, not seen by the public for 160 years. Offering a fascinating insight into his work and family life, the tour will show you the highlights amongst the many treasures on display, including paintings by Canaletto and J.M.W. Turner, the 3,000 year-old sarcophagus of Egyptian King Seti I, and William Hogarth’s complete A Rake’s Progress. Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, 12:00, £10.

Coverage from The Guardian is available here»

Clandon Park House Gutted by Fire

Posted in on site by Editor on May 4, 2015

Marble Hall, chimneypiece with marble reliefs by Rysbrack

The Marble Hall at Clandon following the fire, showing a marble relief by John Michael Rysbrack still over the chimneypiece. ©National Trust/John Millar.

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As reported by BBC News (2 May 2015). . .

The investigation into the cause of a fire that ravaged Clandon Park House “will take some time” owing to its complexity, Surrey fire service said. The blaze at the Grade I listed National Trust property near Guildford on Wednesday [April 29] left the structure gutted.

Structural assessments of the building are continuing and will inform what happens to the 18th-century mansion in the future. The trust said it was too early to discuss a restoration of Clandon. But a “significant amount” of the Palladian mansion’s collection had been saved according to Dame Helen Ghosh, the trust’s director general.

“Although the house was pretty well burned out, the operation rescued a significant amount of the collection, and we are hopeful there will be more to recover when our specialists are able to get inside the building and start the painstaking archaeological salvage work,” she said.

“But there is a lot that we will never recover.”

“The immediate sense of shock and loss amongst staff working at the property has quickly been replaced by a steely determination,” Dame Helen added. “When the overall impact of the fire is clearer, we will be able to decide on the longer term future of the house.”

About 80 firefighters tackled the blaze at its height and crews managed to save a “significant” number of valuable antiques, that have now been “safely” put into storage. . .

The full article is available here»

Additional information is available at Emile de Bruijn’s Treasure Hunt: National Trust Collections.


The Landmark Trust Turns 50

Posted in on site by Editor on April 17, 2015

The Landmark Trust turns fifty in May:

The Landmark Trust’s Golden Weekend
50 Landmark Open Days in the UK, 16–17 May 2015


The Dining Room at 13 Princelet Street, Spitalfields, London, built ca. 1718–19. The Landmark Trust is featured in House & Garden (May 2015), pp. 134–39. Photo by Ben Quinton.

The Landmark Trust is a charity that rescues important buildings that would otherwise be lost. We take on historic places in danger and carefully and sensitively restore them. By making them available for holidays, we make sure they can be enjoyed by all, both today and for future generations. We have in our care nearly 200 buildings in Britain and several in Italy and France. Though they range from the sober to the spectacular, all our buildings are rich in history and atmosphere. They include picturesque pavilions and medieval long-houses, artillery forts and Gothick follies, clan chiefs’ castles and cotton weavers’ cottages, the homes of great writers and the creations of great architects, from Browning to Boswell, from Pugin to Palladio.

In the month we were founded, we will open 25 Landmarks for a special, celebratory open weekend across England Scotland and Wales, many never before or only rarely open to the public. The buildings have been carefully picked so that 95% of the British population will be within 50 miles of an open Landmark.

At 3pm on 16 May 2015 local groups, community choirs, bands, bell ringers and musicians of all sorts will simultaneously perform a specially commissioned Anthem for Landmark by acclaimed young composer Kerry Andrew. We hope this will unite Landmarkers and local communities across the country in a wonderful shared celebration.

More information about the weekend is available here»

Belmont, Landmark Trust property, Lyme Regis, Dorset

Richard Samuel Coade, Belmont (Lyme Regis, Dorset), built before 1784, at which point it became the home of Eleanor Coade; appropriately the house showcases the eponymous artificial stone she pioneered.

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One of The Landmark Trust’s latest project, Belmont is scheduled to open later this year:

Belmont (Lyme Regis, Dorset) is a fine, early example of a maritime villa, a new building type that sprang up in the second half of the 18th century with the rising popularity of sea bathing and holidays by the seaside. Our research has shown that the house was built before 1784 by Samuel Coade. This is the date he transferred the house to his niece, Mistress Eleanor Coade (1733–1821), one of the most intriguing figures in 18th-century architecture.

Our project will rescue Belmont from decay and restore it to its late-Georgian glory, creating a Landmark which will sleep 8 people. As it was once Mrs Coade’s holiday villa, so it will be used for holidays again, with its original features repaired and reinstated.

Thanks to a hugely generous financial bequest to Landmark by the late Mrs Shelagh Preston, the fundraising appeal for Belmont has now reached its target. We are so grateful to everyone who supported Belmont, helping us to raise a total of £1.8m.

The Menokin Glass House: A Revolutionary Project

Posted in on site by Editor on December 9, 2014


Proposed ‘Glass House’ Restoration for Menokin in Warsaw, Virginia
from the website Menokin: Rubble with a Cause

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From the blog of the National Trust for Historic Preservation:

Meghan O’Connor, “Eighteenth-Century House Ruin to Be Restored…With Glass,” Preservation Nation Blog (3 December 2014).

What some people see when they look at Menokin is a collapsed house, an old ruin, a testament to the perils of ignoring preservation. What the staff and Board at Menokin see, however, is a cutting-edge preservation opportunity.

The Menokin Foundation does not want to restore the house to its original condition. Instead, the Foundation believes Menokin is more valuable to the public in pieces. Menokin was home to Declaration of Independence signer, Francis Lightfoot Lee. The land was given to Lee and his wife Rebecca Tayloe by his father-in-law as a wedding gift. The house was built around 1769. . . .


Re-imagining a Ruin: Exterior Structure Cutaway View

Dubbed the “Glass House Project,” the Foundation floated the idea around the preservation community. Pope says, “We started getting really positive responses to it. We got some raised eyebrows, believe me, but we came to [the] consensus that this was an approach worth pursuing.”

To design the Glass House Project, the Foundation hired world-renowned architecture firm Machado and Silvetti Associates in 2012.  Designing projects ranging from an addition to the Bowdoin College Museum of Art to the expansion of the Getty Villa, Machado and Silvetti focus on creating contemporary and innovative designs that merge with historic contexts. . . .

The Foundation is currently developing and implementing Phase 1 of the Glass House Project — to build a glass shell around the current remaining structure.

Menokin’s innovation does not just stop at glass. The Foundation’s ultimate goal for the site is to be an internationally known learning and teaching center. In a departure from many historic house museum models, Menokin does not want to focus solely on one story or one time period. The site will not just be a colonial relic, but a place that can have modern implications for, and showcase in a revolutionary way, preservation, history, architecture, and natural resources. . .

Meghan O’Connor is the member services assistant at the National Trust. She enjoys learning, writing, and talking about museums, art, architecture, and anything historic. She worked with Menokin on the museum’s historical interpretation as part of a graduate school class.

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Note (added 15 December 2014) — The original version of this posting included a photo from the original concept team; the current photos comes from the Menokin blog.