Within These Walls…

Welcome to The Rooms at Kenmore, an exciting new project at the George Washington Foundation! As many of you know, Kenmore underwent a major restoration over the course of eight years.  That landmark, nationally-recognized project returned

University of Mary Washington interns work on the restoration of the decorative plaster ceiling in the Dining Room

Kenmore to its original 18th century appearance and taught us all a great deal about the world of Fielding and Betty Lewis.  But, the Foundation’s work on Kenmore is not done just yet.  We still have a long way to go!

With the physical restoration of the building complete, GWF staff has now turned their attention to all the objects that once filled the rooms of this amazing house.  In the life of an historic house museum, this phase is often called a “refurnishing”, but it is much more than simply placing furniture.  The reason that historic house museums exist at all is to educate the public about what life was like in the past, by immersing our visitors in that time period.  Therefore, we try to be as accurate as possible in recreating the interiors of these houses, and to illustrate not only what objects would have been here, but what those objects tell us about the Lewis family and their daily life.

The process by which a house museum is refurnished is almost as fascinating as the final result.  It’s part detective work, part science

Fragment of a floorcloth found in the attic during the restoration

experiment, and a lot of research.  Unfortunately, it is not fast, and Kenmore will not be refurnished overnight.  But the process has begun, and this blog will serve to share all the details along the way.  Each week, you can stop in and check on the latest happenings, acquisitions, additions and changes.

So, if you will excuse me for the moment, there is much to do! I hope you will enjoy what is sure to be an amazing ride, as we recreate The Rooms at Kenmore.

- Meghan C. Budinger, Curator

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5 Responses to Within These Walls…

  1. Dave says:

    What a great project. I am looking forward to seeing how this beautiful house turns out.

  2. Peter Morish says:

    Hi Megan,
    I will be a very interested follower of your restoration of The Rooms at Kenmore my ancestral family home. To put you in the picture my Great x4 Grandfather Fielding and Great x 4 Grandmother Betty were at one time the builders and owners of Kenmore. Since I have found out about my Lewis lineage eaven though my name is Morish (a long story) my interest in my family has been a truely exciting experience for me seeing that I am an Australian. Have had contact with Paula and she has been really good sending photos of Kenmore to me. So please keep me informed photos e-mails of your work and happy recreation of The Rooms at Kenmore.

    Please say hello to Paula for me,
    Kind Regards,

  3. Peter Morish says:

    Sorry spelt your christian name wrong Meghan.

  4. Dale Adams says:

    Very interesting and what great work. Thanks Meg… I will look forward to your on-going updates as the project continues.

  5. Barbara says:

    I just discovered your column, Meghan. I found it very interesting and will look forward to reading your weekly posts. Thanks for taking the time to educate us!