Preservation of a Historic House

The homestead has been preserved and restored to the period between 1720 and 1830, the year Sarah Whitman Hooker left Connecticut. Collections on display in the homestead include porcelain, glassware, furniture, clothing, and implements for daily living. Some textiles in the collection date from the period of the homestead, and others are reproductions made to the Sarah Whitman Hooker Foundation's specifications. For example, period wallpapers were reproduced to patterns found during the preservation process.

Preservation Premise

The homestead was preserved and restored in accordance with the following statement of purposes and policies for the American Revolution Bicentennial Observance of the Connecticut Historical Commission:

"We must avoid permitting opinion, legend, myth, 'pragmatic truth' and falsehood to replace or distort historically verifiable facts and the conclusions which may be drawn from the latter. The criterion, therefore, as to the validity of any historical claim ought to be authentic documentation by an unimpeachable primary source material."
Original Gunstock Post

This is an interesting example of the application of these preservation principles at the homestead.

In this picture, we see the original gunstock post, a piece of its original casing, whitewashed and sponge painted, the right side of the original 18th-Century door, and the blue wallpaper with a pattern reproduced from a collection of early 19th-Century wallpaper patterns that is on the plastered walls now. We can also see a small section of the original early 18th-Century floor, painted its original color.

We know that the door and casing are original because they fit the spaces precisely and were discovered in the attic being used as flooring. Paint color for the door was matched through a painstaking, by-hand removal of later layers. The same process revealed the original sponge painting under layers of later paint, and the color of the floor and summer beam (not shown).

The hypothesis that the entire room was paneled and sponge painted is confirmed by a wall of horizontal paneling, a cornice, and sponge painting in the small closet created in the remodeling of 1800 - 1810. Apparently, the horizontal paneling was removed, and the walls were plastered and painted.