Archives for the "Uncategorized" Category

Jan 6, 2023

Annual Refinishing of the Floors

The beginning of a new year can mean only one thing at Poplar Forest.  It’s time for the restoration staff to refinish the floors in the house. Typical of Jefferson, the original floors were not a common floor for Virginia, or even America. In a letter to carpenter John Perry in March 1808 Jefferson writes: […]

Jan 6, 2023

Restoring the Beauty of the Past

In September 2018 another piece of the architectural ensemble appeared in the house. White marble hearthstones replaced the temporary brick hearths that had also temporarily stood in for Jefferson for ten years. In 1819 stonemason John Gorman spent three weeks cutting, polishing and laying the local marble that was being quarried close to Lynchburg. Gorman later […]

Jan 6, 2023

Jefferson the Innovative Builder

By the time he came to design and build Poplar Forest, Thomas Jefferson was an experienced builder. He had started constructing his first house, what we refer to as Monticello 1, when he was 26. Jefferson’s design was not only significant for being a very academic and proper study of ancient, Renaissance and modern architecture, […]

Jan 6, 2023

2018 Ceiling Plaster Restoration

In 1809 the original lime plaster was started in the house to give Jefferson a more finished interior when he started using Poplar Forest. Unfortunately the work was not completed for several years. The discovery of many pieces of original wall plaster show that this lime material had brick dust added to strengthen its composition, […]

Jul 23, 2015

Brick by brick. Dream by dream.

Welcome to the Poplar Forest Architectural Restoration and Preservation Blog. Here, we’ll chronicle our ongoing journey to restore the Poplar Forest homestead to Jefferson’s original vision. The restoration of Poplar Forest really is an exciting project to track over time. Currently, after many years of work, visitors to Poplar Forest step into Jefferson’s architectural process in […]

Aug 28, 2015

Field School Records Another Property

This year marked the 25th anniversary of the Restoration Field School. Begun in 1990, this program is a hand-picked group of no more than 10 people from around the country who are interested in all the many things associated with a museum quality restoration. Historic House museums are the most common type of historical education […]

Sep 15, 2015

Old coat worn out? Time for a new one!

Mr. Jefferson’s private retreat needs a new coat. A coat of paint, that is…. Sun, rain, wind, and snow have degraded all painted surfaces and they need a fresh coat. Paint is very important aesthetically. It unifies the architectural elements and serves a practical role. Well-applied coats of paint protect the underlying surfaces. Left exposed, wood […]

Sep 21, 2015

Preserving the Windows

Maintenance on museum properties should really be called conservation. That is because it requires specialized skills and particular materials. Some of the exterior restoration woodwork on Poplar Forest is now 20 years old! That means it has weathered like all materials weather. Craftsmen Dave Clauss and Brian Foree have been working to conserve some material […]

Sep 25, 2015

Celebrating 25 Years of Award-winning Restoration

Poplar Forest was pleased to invite the friends, colleagues, admirers, and family members of Travis McDonald, to a celebration on September 16, 2015, on the occasion of his 25th anniversary as Director of Architectural Restoration at Poplar Forest. See pictures below for highlights. His colleagues and friends included members of Poplar Forest’s architectural advisory panel, […]

Sep 25, 2015

New Restoration Glass for the Lunette Window

With the lunette window sash repaired, Brian Foree replaces two panes of glass damaged when the window was removed from the west stair pavilion. Jefferson was no stranger to broken glass. A particularly nasty storm did the damage in summer of 1819, as observed by granddaughter Cornelia Randolph: “We found that the hail storm had […]