Window Restoration at the Hermitage
Most often, when a window pane is cracked, a homeowner wants to replace it with a perfect new pane. At The Hermitage, our mission is to preserve Andrew Jackson’s beloved home as authentically as possible. If President Jackson were to again walk through the front doors of the mansion, we expect he would recognize his home as just about exactly how he’d left it. That even applies to cracks in the mansion windows. Our standards of excellence in historic preservation compel us to save even those authentic evidences of life in the Jackson household.
Over the last several months we’ve been engaged in a project to restore the windows in the Hermitage mansion. Decaying of window seals was allowing too much moisture to enter the building, sashes needed repairs, and other forms of restoration were needed to return the windows to a condition fit for a presidential home. That endeavor requires expert craftsmen and painstaking attention to detail. Each window must be taken to a workshop where the old glazing can be removed, glass can be restored wherever possible (rather than using new glass, unrelated to the original structure), and the windows can be resealed. Then the intricate process of reinstalling and weighting the windows back into their original position takes place at the mansion. It’s not a job for the impatient or the faint of heart!
The next time you visit the Hermitage mansion see if you can find a few cracks in the windowpanes. You’ll know they are not the result of neglect, but rather evidence of loving and skillful preservation of the great history of this spectacular National Historic Landmark.