In 2016, The Harriet Beecher Stowe Center launched a major renovation, which has been over ten years in the making. The $3.3 million project is designed to preserve and sustain the Stowe Center for the next fifty years and beyond.
Their website outlines the scope of the recently completed project:
The Stowe House preservation…includes a new climate management system, state-of-the-art fire detection and suppression, restoration of historic windows, and new carpeting and wallpapers. In addition, select paintings and furnishings owned by Stowe are undergoing conservation treatment.
The Stowe Center has a substantial collection to be preserved that includes 6,000 objects and over 200,000 manuscripts.
We captured this video on a tour of the renovated facility with Project Curator Cindy Cormier:
Part of the preservation project called for an effective solution to rack and store the textiles of the center’s collection. Integral Storage Solutions installed a large-scale rolling carriage that will allow for intelligent use of space without compromising preservation of the textiles.
One of the reasons the center has such large collection, including fabrics and textiles, is due to the prolific shopping habits of Harriet Beecher Stowe. According to a recent article in the New York Times:
Jean Dunbar, a historic interiors consultant for the restoration, said Stowe stocked up on wallpaper rolls, curtain fabrics, fringe and carpets, even if she didn’t have use for them. Stowe would explain to her relatives that the prices for a particular paper or textile seemed low, so she would make purchases “because I couldn’t help it, it was so pretty.”
To find out more about the preservation project, listen to Shannon Burke and Cindy Cormier of the Stowe Center on NPR:
Visit harrietbeecherstowecenter.org for more information.