Preventive and Proactive Conservation at the Gilded Age Mansions of Newport, Rhode Island

Patricia Miller


The Preservation Society of Newport County is the steward of 11 historic house museums, the majority of which date from the late nineteenth to early twentieth century. In 2016, the conservation department began a series of comprehensive condition surveys, or health checks, of the structures and more than 60,000 collection objects to determine strategic conservation priorities. Our outward goal was to improve the quality of preventive care through collaborative winter cleaning projects with staff carpenters, painters, masons and caretakers. Our department goal was to evolve from a reactive to proactive workflow. The presentation will discuss survey methods including the use of apps to increase productivity and improve documentation, staff training and coordination, management of stakeholder expectations, and a series of unfortunate events.

2020 | Online | Volume 27