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For each space, identify uses that are most compatible with their interpretation and the preservation of their integrity.

To achieve this goal, each space and their collective ensemble require documentation, assessment, facilities analysis, and recommendations for preservation treatments developed as part of a recommended Space Use and Facilities Management Plan.

The work proposed is not encompassed in the present PSNC Facilities Management Plan (1999-2000; McGinley Hart).


The design and construction of interior spaces, chronicles the original, and later, uses of a house, its varying parts (or "zones"), individual rooms, and their relationship — to the original users and to those today. The integrity and interpretation of each space, and their collective relationship, is critical to each visitor's experience.

It should be recognized that the formulation of a Space Use and Facilities Management Plan is a continuous process due to the dynamic nature of Society programs. Revisions will inevitably be required during the course of any plan, process or related policy. As a result, the management of Society space and the reallocation of facilities must respond to new requirements, issues and opportunities but at the same time maintain the vision of the Society's long-term objectives.


Racine. Laurel. On the Inside Looking Out — Guidelines for the Treatment of Historic Furnished Interiors, CRM, vol. 9, 200, National Park Service. [Download PDF format file.]

A historic furnished interior is a collection of architectural features, finishes, and site-associated or site-appropriate furnishings organized in space inside a historic building. As an assemblage, these features often share a common history of ownership and use at the site. Historic furnished interiors encompass private homes, work spaces, and public spaces. Historic furnished interiors can provide particularly powerful and evocative interpretive experiences as the spaces where significant historical events took place.

Historic furnished interiors are linked to time. A restored or reconstructed historic furnished interior depicts the building's period of greatest significance. A preserved historic furnished interior depicts the accumulation of changes over a specific time period. In practice, however, it is very unusual to find a historic furnished interior that is "pure" to any one treatment.

For the purposes of these standards and guidelines, historic furnished interiors are narrowly defined. Historic furnished interiors must be associated with a specific place and time. As defined here, period rooms in an art museum or historic house are not historic furnished interiors. These treatments are no less important or educational than the historic furnished interior. In fact, the process of research and implementation for these installations can be very similar, but they are not subject to the same constraints of place and time when choosing a treatment.

Character-Defining Features

A character-defining feature is a prominent or distinctive tangible object in a historic furnished interior that contributes significantly to its physical character. Interior architectural features, finishes, furnishings, and the visual components of mechanical systems may be such features.

Interior Spaces.

Interior spaces are defined by interior architectural features (e.g., ceilings, floors, walls). The arrangement, sequence, size, and proportion of interior spaces are individually and collectively important in defining the historic character of a building. Interiors are comprised of a series of public, private, and service spaces. Understanding the function, size, and location of a building's interior spaces is essential to a successful treatment.

Interior Design.

As defined in the guidelines, whether a designed or vernacular historic interior, "interior design" encompasses all aspects of an interior except for the structural architectural features. These aspects include color, material, texture, pattern, and spatial organization. Spatial organization describes how the objects relate to circulation patterns, architectural features, and other objects. The relationship between the size and scale of furnishings and the room in which they exist can be a character-defining feature. In the case of some residential and commercial interiors, the arrangement of furnishings may be important in its own right as the work of a well-known craftsman, architect/designer, or interior

Architectural Features.

The design and treatment of walls, floors, ceilings, windows, and stairways contribute to the significance and historic character of an interior. Among the architectural features to consider are columns, cornices, baseboards, fireplaces and mantels, paneling, hardware, and light fixtures.


Finishes to consider are wallpaper, plaster, paint, stenciling, marbling, graining, and other decorative treatments that accent interior features. These finishes provide color, texture, and pattern to walls, floors, and ceilings.

Architectural features and finishes may be significant as works of art-the product of an important craftsman or a frescoed wall or painted ceiling by an important artist.


A historic furnished interior is also defined by its contents. Each object can be considered on its own merits in terms of form, ornament, color, materials, craftsmanship, function, style, date, attribution, ownership history, and condition. Some furnishings may be important as works of art-the products of master or traditional craftsmen or the works of well-known artists. The dynamic nature of furnishings and interior design should be kept in mind at all times. Throughout their history, furnishings could have been altered, re-arranged, re-designed, and functionally re-defined. The assemblage of collection objects must be considered as a whole: How was the assemblage created? How were the objects manufactured or adapted for use? Is there one style or a range of styles? A comparison of the ensemble to that in other similar historic interiors provides the basis for defining the significance of the assemblage as
a whole.

Mechanical Components.

The existence and practical use of mechanical systems influence some structural and decorative decisions. The visible decorative elements of historic mechanical systems such as grilles, radiators, lighting fixtures, and switchplates may contribute to the overall historic character of the furnished interior.

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