Challenge Programs: Challenge Grants

Period of Performance

11/1/2003 - 11/30/2004

Funding Totals (matching)

$30,000.00 (approved)
$30,000.00 (offered)
$30,000.00 (awarded)

Emergency Ceiling Replacement for Redwood Library and Athenaeum's Historic 1875 Delivery Room

FAIN: CH-50143-04

Redwood Library and Athenaeum (Newport, RI 02840)
Cheryl V. Helms (Project Director: December 2003 to March 2005)

On November 19, 2003, a 12' X 5' section of original plaster ceiling in the Delivery room collapsed. The large chunks of heavy plaster destroyed a number of computers, cleaved a 145 year old wooden bookcase in half and spreade dust and debris throughout. Although gritty plaster dust settled on all th surfaces in the Library, including the books, statues, and Colonial-era paintings, the irreplaceable items themselves were spared. After assessing the damage, a structural engineer and architects determined that the original plaster has, over time, separated from the the lathings thereby weakening the ceiling of the Delivery room. The entire ceiling is in danger of collapsing and must be removed in a controlled manner and replaced immediately. Historic fabric (ex, wood laths) will be saved where feasible. The room is 40' high, requiring staging to take the old plaster ceiling down, to do structural repair, and install new plaster ceiling. This is a life safety issue resulting in closure of this humanities installation and necessitating removal of all fine and decorative arts, literary and reference materials.