Standards > Architectural
An architectural fragment is any part of a structure removed
from its historic context. As examples, an architectural fragment
- doors (removed and stored in the past);
- paint chips (located and removed during analysis);
- hazardous material (abated rather than encapsulated);
- deteriorated, infested, failed timber (replaced in kind);
- plaster and lath (removed during electrical work);
- sheet metal (salvaged during demolition of a failed roof).
Williamsburg Resolutions on Architectural Fragments
Note:The Williamsburg Resolutions were produced at
the Seminar on Current Collections Management Practices for
Architectural Fragments held in Williamsburg, Virginia, in
September 1995. The seminar was sponsored by the National
Park Service, the Association for Preservation Technology
International, the Center for Historic Preservation at Middle
Tennessee State University, and the Colonial Williamsburg
Foundation. The seminar was made possible, in part, with special
funding by the National Park Service through its Cultural
Resource Training Initiative.
"Arising from our shared concern for the preservation
and appropriate use of architectural fragments, we believe
that the historic context is the preferred location for
building components. However, when objects become detached,
they require professional standards of care and preservation.
In that process, our responsibility is to thoroughly document
the historic context of removed fragments. As these objects
represent a primary source of information about the past,
we have a responsibility to interpret architectural fragments
for the benefit of all.
We therefore adopt the following principles as guidelines
for acquiring, documenting, managing, preserving, and using
collections of architectural fragments.
- In recognition of the preference for in situ
preservation of historic structures, architectural fragments
should not be removed if such removal will adversely impact
the structure's integrity.
- When architectural fragments are removed from structures,
thorough documentation should accurately and permanently
record the context of the fragments within the structure.
- Architectural fragments and their associated documentation
should be collected, organized, stored, maintained and
conserved in accordance with established professional
collections management practices of the museum and historic
- Institutions should adopt a standardized nomenclature
system for cataloging purposes which will allow effective
sharing of collection information.
- Institutions which hold collections of architectural
fragments have an obligation to share information about
those objects through research, exhibits, and other educational
- Analysis, research, exhibition, interpretation, and
other uses of architectural fragments should be planned
and conducted so as to maintain the integrity of those
objects and their associated documentation.
- Architectural fragments should be used in a manner consistent
with national and international standards for the stewardship
of historic properties."
Study Collections, CRM, Vol. 16, No. 8, 1993, Cultural
Resources, National Park Service, U.S.D.I.
to Archival Organization and Description:Access to Cultural
Standards and Digital Resource Management Program, Getty
Research Institute, J.
Paul Getty Trust
American Architectural Foundation, The Octagon
Fragment Collection, also collected during various Octagon
restoration periods, contains portions of original beams,
nails, boards, and interior and exterior hardware. It numbers
approximately 4,500 pieces. It is used in research projects,
internships in collection management, and presentations
related to restoration and preservation activities.
The Octagon, American Architectural Foundation, 1799 New
York Avenue NW, Washington DC 20006, T 202.638.3221, F 202.879.7764,
Box 32, Deerfield, MA 01342-0321T 413.774.5581
F 413.775.7220, William Flynt, Architectural Conservator,
Peabody Essex Museum
collection includes twenty-three historic American structures
and a major architectural fragment collection. East India
Square , Salem, MA 01970-3783, Tel 978.745.9500, 800.745.4054,
the Preservation of New England Antiquities (Historic