Friday, August 26, 2016

Advanced Project in Window Restoration: Ste. Genevieve, Missouri

Hey, all! 
                I'm Whitney Tucker, a Graduate Assistant for the History Department at Southeast Missouri State University (SEMO) completing my second year of graduate studies in Public History, Historic Preservation emphasis. I’m originally from a small town in Southeast Missouri, but I have lived all over the state. I was homeschooled my whole life and graduated high school at sixteen and had a Bachelor’s by 20. I took some time off to be with my wonderful son, but eventually came back. When it came to selecting a program, I knew that SEMO was exactly where I wanted to be. The reputation of the program here is well known and well respected. After talking with the Program Director, I knew there was no other University that could offer the high-quality, experiential learning that SEMO does. So here I am!
Whitney Tucker working on re-glazing historic window for
Felix Valle House and Mercantile (ca. 1818)

                Recently I completed an Advanced Project in Applied History in Ste. Genevieve, Missouri at the Felix Valle State Historic Site. This site has multiple homes, such as the Shaw House (ca.1819,) the Felix Valle House and Mercantile (ca. 1818,) and the Beauvais-Amoureux House (ca. 1792.) The Beauvais-Amoureux House is a French vertical log structure, known as poteaux-en-terre (post in the ground.) It  is one of three poteaux-en-terre in Ste. Genevieve, and one of five in the entire United States. As you can imagine, it was a huge opportunity (and responsibility) to work on some of the conservation work at this site. (To find out more about this awesome historic site visit Missouri’s Department of Natural Resources: )

                While at the Beauvais-Amoureux House I was able to work on more than a few hands on conservation projects.  The tasks I completed were wood repairs, window restoration, and glazing. While I completed various restoration work on the windows and shutters of both the Shaw and Felixe Valle houses, my primary project was completed at the Beauvais-Amoureux House. There I was solely responsible for the restoration of the windows and door.
Restoration and glazing completed on window
for historic Valle House (ca. 1818)

                The process for restoring the windows was intricate and time consuming, and required a great amount of patience. Additionally, I needed to have an understanding of wood and how the material ages, responds to water, and the best ways to preserve it. While my education at this point had provided me with the ability to research, document, and apply the Secretary of the Interiors Standard for Preservation, working in a hands-on manner with the state historic site allowed me the opportunity to further my education on the Standards for Rehabilitation.
Completed restoration and glazing on window
for historic Beauvais-Amoureux House (ca. 1792)

Learning to work with historic materials was one of the primary goals of my experience. In prior classes, such as Legal and Economic Principles of Historic Preservation and Historic Preservation Field School, we learned the significance of original historic windows. However, I gained a greater insight into why the original windows are so important. Additionally, my experience allowed me to understand the amount of work and gain the skills needed to for saving and restoring a historic window.

               While I now have the knowledge and ability to care for historic windows and wood, I have determined that when working with historic building materials, there is a vast amount I still need to learn. There is no one material that is more significant than another, as they all need care and maintenance in order to be able to preserve them for future generations.   

This was just one of the many opportunities for hands on learning that I have been able to take part in with SEMO. I look forward to a great many more!

No comments:

Post a Comment