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Studies in Preservation – Fall 2002
IMLS General Conservation Survey for the Preservation Society of Newport County

Breakers: two million dollar roof restoration including terracotta, flashing, chimneys and drainage. In progress, July 2002
Breakers: interior investagation of decorative finishes on ceiling. July 2002
Kingscote; McKim, Mead and White dining room. July 2002
Kingscote: basement fireplace with original, 1842, heating system for water. July 2002
Green Animals: garden topiary. July 2002
The Elms: "Coals to Newport," and interpretive exhibit of the White-Berwind Coal Company, whose fortunes financed construction of The Elms. August 2002

Course Number and Title

Studies in Preservation (HP431) Fall 2002




Junior standing.




Philip Cryan Marshall, Associate Professor
Tel. 401.254.3061
E-mail pmarshall "at" rwu.edu
Office: Engineering 126

Catalog Description

"Presentations by experts in specific aspects of the historic preservation field such as museum studies, Historic American Buildings Survey, early American tools, recycling buildings, decorative and utilitarian objects, and preservation law. Students may take his course more than once, depending on the topic offered in any given semester. (3 credits) Special Offering." Catalog Year 2001/2002 (May 2001)

Course Description

Upon the completion of this course, your résumé can include the following accomplishment. Your specific contribution will depend on your skills, interests and the way they can contribute to your professional development and the collective contribution of the class to the project. Students from historic preservation, architecture, art & architectural history, history, communications, business management, and construction masnagement are encouraged to enroll. For information contact Philip Marshall.

[Specific scope of your work], undertaken in conjunction with a General Conservation Survey for the Preservation Society of Newport County, and funded by a Conservation Project Support grant by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

This course provides upper-level students with the opportunity to work collectively with a number of practicing professionals and to contribute directly to the development of a conservation assessment of ten of the "Newport mansions" owned by the Preservation Society of Newport County. The Society has received a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to conduct a General Conservation Survey of both the objects and buildings, with with work led by a collections conservator and architectural conservator, Philip Marshall, who is teaching this course. From the project's onset, IMLS identified this work as being a model for future initiaives by museums nationwide. The following quote is a brief extraction from the grant proposal to IMLS.

"The focus of the General Conservation Survey will be to determine the conservation needs and priorities of the building interiors and the collections of each historic house museum. The architectural component of this survey will focus on the interface of interior and exterior surfaces where some of the most historically important, complex and at-risk building elements exist. This will encompass both structural and decorative materials, including ornate gilded and painted ceilings and walls, fireplace surrounds, mosaics, and other engaged decoration.

The primary goal of the project is the development and presentation, for Board adoption, of a formal, institutional Collections Care Policy and a Long-range Collections Conservation Plan, based on the recommendations outlined in the consultant’s General Conservation Survey Report. A secondary goal of this project is to interface the information/data gained from this study with the Society’s existing Collections Management Database (MS Access) and Properties Maintenance Database (Filemaker Pro). The Collections Management Database was custom-written in Microsoft Access to categorize, track, catalog, and otherwise provide a searchable resource for collections information. Over 80% of a hard copy-based inventory has been entered as part of the Society’s continuing accessioning update. The Properties Maintenance Database identifies a plan for the maintenance and preservation tasks required over the next 30 years to keep the Society’s buildings secure, intact, and protected from the elements. To date, the two existing databases have not been connected. An Information Technology specialist will insure that our General Conservation Assessment data will be captured and translated in a format that is compatible with our existing databases.
The general goals, objective, and plan of work for the consultants are based on recommendations contained in the publication The Conservation Assessment: A Tool for Planning, Implementing, and Fundraising. Each consultant will concentrate on surveying and reporting on their area of focus, but they will work together to arrive at an internally consistent final report that sets forth their collective recommendations. In order to set institutional goals for overall collections care, they will work collaboratively on and off site to identify and prioritize potentially conflicting needs. The entire survey team will work collectively to protect the collections and minimize the objects’ exposure to any disruptive elements.

The project will include four phases: Self-study and Planning; Information Gathering; Interpretation and Report Development; and Presentation Development and Dissemination."

The ten house museums that are the focus of this survey include the following properties. These buildings, unique in their proximity to each other, reflect important movements in American architecture. All of the houses are on the National Register of Historic Places and have received Save America’s Treasures designations. Five of the houses, Hunter House, Kingscote, Isaac Bell House, The Breakers and The Elms have achieved National Historic Landmark status.

  • Hunter House (1748) Colonial period house built for Jonathan Nichols, Jr.; 2% of its collections are original and focus on 18th and 19th c. Newport-made furniture and decorative arts, including Townsend-Goddard furniture makers. Size: 8,000 sq. feet; 12 rooms; 866 objects. Interior architectural elements: all original paneling, including Corinthian pilasters and carved cherubs heads; 18th century staircase.
  • Kingscote (1841) Gothic Revival built by architect, Richard Upjohn, founder of the AIA, with additions in 1881 by McKim, Mead & White for George Noble Jones; 100% of its collection is original. Size: 26,000 sq. feet; 25 rooms; 4,515 objects. Interior architectural elements: Original faux wood graining in Upjohn part. McKim, Mead & White addition retains Colonial Revival built-in sideboard, cork tile ceiling and upper walls, important stained glass and opalescent glass blocks.
  • Chateau-sur-Mer (1852) High Victorian style architecture, designed by Seth Bradford with later modifications by Richard Morris Hunt and John Russell Pope for William Shepard Wetmore; 40% of its collection is original, focusing on decorative arts of the Aesthetic Movement. Size: 38,000 sq. feet; 50 rooms; 2,717 objects. Interior architectural elements: restored stenciled ceilings and conserved Aesthetic style ceilings, highly important library and dining room by Luigi Frullini, Louis XV Revival ballroom by Leon Marcotte, a French salon using Louis XV and XVI design concepts by Ogden Codman.
  • Brayton House at Green Animals Topiary Garden (1860) Owned by Thomas E. Brayton; 70% of the collection is original focusing on 19th c. country life style. Size: 10,500 sq. feet; 18 rooms; 3,584 objects.
  • Chepstow (1860) Italianate home designed by George Champlin Mason for Edmund Schermerhorn; house contains original furnishings from its second-generation owner, Mrs. Emily Morris Gallatin, including a collection of important 19th c. American paintings and documents. Size: 16,000 sq. feet; 30 rooms; 3,613 objects.
  • Issac Bell House (1883) One of the best surviving examples of Shingle-Style architecture, designed by McKim, Mead & White; collections are presently being sought which highlight the Arts and Crafts Movement. Interior architectural elements: the research, conservation, and restoration of the interior is continuing. Important wallpaper evidence has been found. Technical examination, identification, and conservation of decorative paint schemes is being undertaken.
  • Marble House (1892) Beaux Arts Classicism mansion designed by Richard Morris Hunt for William K. Vanderbilt; 85% of its collection is original with a focus on the Vanderbilt era circa 1892. Size: 28,000 sq. feet; 52 rooms; 3,518 objects. Interior architectural elements: highly important gilded ballroom, extravagant marble-sheathed dining room accented with gilded bronze appliques, a vaulted Gothic room with carved wainscot and decorated ceiling.
  • The Breakers (1895) Built by Richard Morris Hunt for Cornelius Vanderbilt II; 100% of its collections are original and constitute an intact Belle Epoque assemblage. Size: 126,000 sq. feet; 70 rooms; 4,886 objects. Interior architectural elements: lavishly decorated walls and ceilings in the grand downstairs spaces incorporating painted and gilded ornament, grisaille paintings on tin leaf, masses of marble, alabaster capitals, decorated ceilings; a neoclassical bedroom designed by Ogden Codman.
  • The Elms (1901) Modeled after an 18th c. French chateau, designed by Horace Trumbauer for Edward J. Berwind; 20% of its collections are original and the collecting emphasis reflects 18th c. French aesthetics. Size: 60,000 sq. feet; 48 rooms; 5,362 objects. Interior architectural elements: monochrome interiorstonework punctuated by marble columns with gilded capitals, ornate grain-painted ceilings, large 18th c. Chinese urushi panels (K’ang Hsi Period) with matching early 20th c. counterparts.
  • Rosecliff (1902) modeled after the 17th c. Grand Trianon, a baroque pavilion, designed by Stanford White of McKim, Mead & White for Theresa Fair Oelrichs; 80% of its collection is original to the Monroe era; emphasis is on gilded age portraiture and social history. Size: 28,800 sq. feet; 40 rooms; 1,831 objects. Interior architectural elements: Stanford White interior ornament modeled after the Grand Trianon.

Office Hours

Advising hours will be posted on my faculty office door each week, a week in advance. Please sign up and bring an agenda. If you plan to discuss drafts, proposals, drawings, field notes, photographs, or similar material, please leave a copy in my faculty mailbox with a note asking me to preview your work at least two days before your meeting — to provide enough time to consider carefully your work before getting together.

Course Goals

Refer to Course Description, above.

Course Materials

Readings are primarily Web based. These will be posted at a later date. You must print out hard copies of all assigned reading and include them, with marginal notes, highlighting, in your organized course binder.

Additional reading will be provided as class handouts and materials on reserve

Student Participation

  • Attend all classes, site visits, meetings, and field trips
  • Work as involved, responsible member of all project teams
  • Actively participate in class and meeting discussions, planning, integration of independent work with other efforts
  • Complete assignments (word-processed or electronic, when written) by due dates
  • Advise faculty about any concerns, tutoring, and special needs
  • Come to site visits prepared, with necessary tools, equipment, and supplies

Evaluation (Grading Policy)

  • Attendance, active participation mandatory
  • Team work on course project(s) — 50%
  • Independent work on specific initiatives, research, field/site work — 50%

Syllabus – Schedule of Class Meetings

The class is scheduled to meet in Bristol (location will be changed from Providece, as listed in the Fall schedule), Thursdays 6:45 to 9:30 PM. Nonetheless, substantial work will be done on site in Newport during working hours of the Preservation Society of Newport County, and other institutions. The course schedule, which will work around your existing commitments, will be determined once class begins.



NAAB Matrix

Not developed for 2002.


  • Team-oriented development of class project(s)
  • Independent, directed work on particular sites, subjects, issues, resources — all of which contribute to collective work
  • Meetings, site visits, field trips with specialists — with your active participation in discussion, preparation, and follow-through
  • Site visits, meetings, interviews, and research conducted independently or in partnership with other students
  • Classroom meeting to review ongoing work, delegate responsibilities and work, plan future work, meetings, project activities.

Equipment and Supplies

All equipment and supplies will be reviewed in class.