This Place Matters - A Historic Preservation Update
May is Preservation Month, and we are ready to celebrate! This Place Matters is a national campaign led by the National Trust for Historic Preservation that encourages people to celebrate the places that are meaningful to them and to their communities, and Preservation Month is the perfect time to share it with the world.
We are particularly excited to end the month with the official opening of several historic horse stables and the tack room at the Frist Learning Center. In past decades, the six-room stable block was used for video display and contemporary art shows, which meant that dry wall was installed to create a uniform white space. As we embarked on the construction phase, facilities staff excavated the dry wall and revealed intact wainscoting and windows on the back wall. This was a thrilling discovery which allowed us to further preserve and interpret the space, honoring the authentic remnants from the 1930s. Through these recently restored spaces, visitors will gain new understanding about equestrian life at Cheekwood and how central it was to the estate’s formation.
Last year, Cheekwood completed the first phase of historic restoration inside the Cheekwood Mansion. The second phase of this preservation initiative is now underway. Earlier this year, we unveiled the restored Recreation Room, a favorite space of the Cheek family and never before open to the public. Curatorial and collections staff are also working on the restoration of the Morning Room, Leslie Cheek Jr.’s Study, and the Butler’s Pantry. Historic preservation projects can be monumental such as those noted above. They have a start and a finish and involve big, highly-noticeable changes. However, many historic preservation projects are more subtle and continue on a daily basis. Curatorial and collections staff are constantly caring for the collection, including cleaning the decorated rooms, monitoring environmental conditions in display spaces and storage spaces, and observing the general conditions of the collection as a whole.
As Cheekwood is a historic site with a significant building and outdoor sculptural and architectural elements, preservation is front and center of our activities.
This historic preservation update provided by Gina Wouters, Vice President of Museum Affairs/Chief Curator at Cheekwood