Preservation and Access: Preservation Assistance Grants

Period of Performance

3/1/2015 - 8/31/2016

Funding Totals

$6,000.00 (approved)
$6,000.00 (awarded)

Hill-Stead Museum Light Control Study

FAIN: PG-52434-15

Hill-Stead Museum (Farmington, CT 06032-2372)
Melanie Anderson Bourbeau (Project Director: May 2014 to September 2016)

The development of a plan, in consultation with a conservator, to prevent damage from light exposure to collections at the Hill-Stead Museum, a 1901 Colonial Revival home designed by Theodate Pope Riddle for her father, Alfred Atmore Pope. Pope’s 36-room country estate was a showplace for his extensive art collections, which include French Impressionist paintings; works by Thomas Sully, James Whistler, and Mary Cassatt; and extensive holdings of decorative arts, textiles, and furniture. These collections, along with a large archive of letters, photographs, and family memorabilia, support tours, programming, and research on topics related to American social and cultural history, art and architectural history, and women's studies.

A 2012 on-site assessment through the Conservation Assessment Program (CAP), a program of Heritage Preservation and IMLS, determined that Hill-Stead Museum needs to evaluate methods of light control in the period rooms, two glassed-in porches, and collection storage areas of the historic house. The CAP Executive Summary states: “Light control needs improvement, primarily visible daylight” and “Light damage is visible on furniture and architectural paint near the windows.” Conducting a light control study “to evaluate and test various control alternatives, resulting in a Light Control Plan ready for implementation” was among the short-term recommendations in the report. PAG funds will be used to formulate the light control plan with expert consultation and to purchase sample light control materials to install and evaluate qualitatively and quantitatively. A written report will be provided specifying control methods customized for each individual window.