Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Barn Restoration Project

The goal of the Barn Restoration Project is three-fold:

- Renovate and repair the structure, using, where practical, traditional timber frame joinery. At the same time remaining sensitive to preserving the historic fabric where possible.

- Tell the story of the agrarian and gardening/landscaping traditions of Southern Connecticut.

- The eastern third of the barn will be reserved for the volunteer “Garden Gang”.

This traditional barn, on the campus of the Florence Griswold Museum, is the sole remaining outbuilding that is extant from the Art Colony period.

The Barn was built around 1851 in that style easily identified with the utilitarian barns of the Connecticut River Valley. Assembled from local chestnut, oak and fir, the traditional mortise and tenion joinery of post and beam construction is much in evidence in the structure.
Later repairs in the mid–twentieth century were indifferent to the traditional joinery methods. These repairs utilized modern fasteners, such as steel nails, carriage and lag bolts, to hold the post and boards together. Central timber beam members were replaced by conventional 2 X 12 fir boards. Central timber posts, essential to the stability of the frame, were sheared in half, presumably to maximize greater storage capacity on the ground floor.

So, the scope of the work on this project is to renovate, selectively restore and completely repair the Historic Barn to such an extent that it can be used for the purposes of the Rafal Landscape Center, while remaining sensitive to the historic fabric of the building.

Subsequent blogs will discuss in detail each repair.

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