What We Did on Our Summer Break: Preservation Efforts at the Hamill House

Historic Georgetown Inc.’s restoration efforts never end. This summer was no exception.  Not only did we work hard on preservation and restoration this summer, we doubled our attendance from last summer.

We have been busy trying to bring the luster and opulence of the Victorian era back to the Hamill House. We went through the whole property and house to figure out what we could do to attain this goal. We received a huge assist from Historicorp (link to website below), early in the summer. Historicorp tackled the restoration of the Hamill privy. This occurred at the beginning of summer but HGI was not finished with our preservation efforts.

The biggest project was the replacement of the three porches on the Hamill House. We started with the front porch after it was discovered there was major wood rot. The front porch was recreated using new wood, as well as elements from the previous porch. It was masterfully restored by Silver Plume Home Services. They also did minor work on the back porch and have currently moved on to the side porch next to the conservatory. In addition to doing maintenance on the porches, they also replaced the cellar door that leads to the basement of the Hamill House. The old one was nothing more than a rotten plank of wood.

As part of our rejuvenation and restoration of the Hamill, we undertook several major cleaning projects. These projects will allow for better organization of our growing artifact collection. The attic was one of the first areas we attacked. Mostly every box and piece of furniture was pulled from the attic and sorted. We then purchased archival boxes and began organizing them in a manner that allows the curatorial staff easier access. The opening of the attic will hopefully give us a better opportunity for future interpretation. The next step was to get into the Hamill basement, which had not been cleaned in years. Boxes and boxes of archaeological finds, dishes, and other items were removed from the basement and sorted. These items are now being stored in the Centennial Mill. We even found a Knights Templar sword in the basement! The next cleaning project took us over to the Carriage House. We not only swept the floor and cleared out clutter, we polished and washed the horse tack. The horse tack has never looked better. Inside the kitchen and bathrooms we added new drapes, which give the house a more homely feel. Speaking of the Centennial Mill, we have spent several days reorganizing. The Mill will now be a more effective space for storage.

We did not ignore the Pavilion and Hamill Park. The Pavilion received a fresh coat of paint. The gutters were also unclogged. Inside the Pavilion a new dishwasher was installed. The dishwasher was very helpful for all of the great First Friday’s throughout the summer.

The architectural assessment is still on going for the parlor of the Hamill House. This the main preservation project HGI is working on. All of our events this summer have gone towards our many preservation projects.

Another aspect of the preservation process were our efforts in the cataloging and archiving of objects. Using PastPerfect software, we have digitized textiles, furniture, photographs, old cameras, and other interesting objects found during our cleaning process. We continue to digitize our collection and ensure correct storage. The major collections we have digitized were the Dallas/Atchison Collection, which included many beautiful examples of vintage Victorian clothing,and the Primus Collection which included several pieces of Hamill era and Victorian era furniture. We have spread the Primus collection throughout the house to make the Hamill house more authentic to what it was at its pinnacle.

If you would like to help with the efforts to preserve and restore the Hamill House and other Historic Georgetown properties, you can become a member. We offer several membership levels, and in fact the $100 level includes membership to over 750 museums across the United States. Being part of this effort will help bring back the luster and opulence of the Hamill House and other Historic Georgetown properties.

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