The Next Big Restoration Thing

by Amy Curry, Executive Director
October 4, 2022

In 1860, when Augustus Crane transformed his newly purchased country home, he had a clear vision for its style. Inspired by his brother’s NY estate as well as the very popular works of contemporary Andrew Jackson Downing, Crane made major exterior and interior changes to Acorn Hall. Crane also strove for the Hall and its nine-acre gentleman’s farm to be in concert, inside and out, with the natural world around it. Now, following a very successful exterior restoration of both the Hall exterior and its carriage house, MCHS is turning attentions inward.

The Summer Bedroom wallpaper, along with the Master Bedroom, are slated for conservation.

Over the next five years, MCHS is looking forward an interior restoration of Acorn Hall. Encouraged by conditions in the Music Room, but including nearly all the “historic rooms” on the first and second floors, restoration work will address failing plaster and paint, large cracks in the plastered ceilings, and paint analyses to determine original colors. Additionally, MCHS will undertake the conservation of historic floor coverings and wallpapers.

Pieces of original Music Room wallpaper on plaster.

Assisting in the process are the centuries of archival documents and photographs as well as original wallpaper samples (some with plaster still attached), previous grant applications, correspondences, receipts, and reports by professionals from the early days of MCHS ownership. These sources are helping us amass a treasure trove of information that will be used to update our Preservation Plan and chart our forward course of action. Building on prior successful efforts, MCHS is excited to present this project to grantors and the public alike.

Following the clues left behind to form an authentic representation of the interiors c.1860-1880, our restoration, like all the work completed over the last decade, will help us more accurately present how the Crane family and their Morristown neighbors lived. It will also allow the Hall to embody larger cultural concepts that guided many aspects of life on the eve of the American Civil War to the coming Industrial Revolution. Research and planning are are in the initial stages so construction will likely be in two to three years. We’ll keep you updated as the  project progresses!