Mansion Wallpaper and Tomb Cleaning and Repair Projects – Spring 2021 Preservation Efforts
If there is one thing most of us can attest to, it is that 2020 was a tough year. Facing all of the challenges that COVID, natural disasters and more brought to our city, state, country and world, the proverbial “rising from the ashes” anthem is one that The Hermitage is now singing. The core tenets of the Andrew Jackson Foundation’s mission are to preserve, educate and inspire. While all three are important and serve as the focal points of what our team does every day, preserving the home and land of the nation’s 7th president is one aspect of which we are particularly proud—and one that has thankfully not stopped because of the trials from the last year.
Mansion Wallpaper Repair Project
In September 2020, the mansion experienced a water leak caused by a failed drain line that affected the more than 200-year-old Telemachus wallpaper that hangs in the hallway of the second floor.
A special collections fund has allowed the Foundation to bring in a wallpaper conservator who has worked on several projects for us in the last five years. The focus is on repairing the damaged wallpaper, which includes removing the plaster and lining papers adhered to the wallpaper, followed by removing/reducing the water stain with a specialized gel product. Repairs will be made to tears, and the wallpaper will be re-lined before rehanging the historic paper and the reproduction upper border, sky paper and lower border. If any losses occurred in the art on the paper, the conservator will take on the task of in-painting what is needed. This project is expected to be complete this fall.
Projects involving historic artifacts are extremely detailed, and we are thankful for the funds to be able to preserve this beloved wallpaper. Be sure to ask our Interpreters about it on your next visit!
Rachel and Andrew Jackson Tomb Cleaning and Repair Project
We are pleased about a long-awaited and much needed cleaning and repair project for the tomb where Rachel and Andrew Jackson are laid to rest. From now until mid-summer, major cleaning of the columns, floors, steps and more will take place using low pressure steam, laser ablation and chemical poultices. In addition, the copper roof of the tomb will be coated with a sealant to prevent copper salts from staining the stone of the tomb. The sealant will make the roof a few shades darker. Lead joints will replace failed sealant joints.
If you visit during this time, please note that the tomb will be shrouded to prevent damage to eyesight from the laser ablation cleaning system that will be in use.
Funding for this project comes from the Historic Preservation Fund, administered by the National Park Service, Department of the Interior and the Tennessee Historical Commission, as well as by private donations and insurance.
We are excited to unveil the clean, repaired tomb in a few short weeks and look forward to sharing it with you!