Architectural Restoration

Restoration Blog

Jan 21, 2016

Winter Architectural Exhibit

As part of the Winter Weekend exhibits in the house, the unfinished East Room is an exhibit featuring three principal themes: Jefferson’s skill as an experienced builder; the role of physical evidence; and the authentic measures by which we are restoring the house. These first two themes are listed on a poster board. Visitors can […]


Nov 24, 2015

Necessary Roof

The fire of 1845 destroyed most of the the original Jefferson era woodwork at Poplar Forest, except for the privies which went unscathed. Protecting this original woodwork is the job of the roof, so keeping it tight is imperative. The Corporation installed a chestnut shingled roof in 2001, but has since become too degraded no […]


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 […]


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 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 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 […]


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 […]


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 […]