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Step-by-step plaster repair

July 26, 2011

Plaster analysis

The carpentry crew has begun plaster repairs in the tenant farmers’ house at the Spencer-Peirce-Little Farm in Newbury, Mass. Often referred to as the Stekionis House in honor of the Lithuanian tenant farmer family that resided there from 1913 to 1993, the house has been open to the public on a very limited basis. Historic New England is preparing the house to be a part of the museum experience by interpreting the Stekionis family and their important role on the farm.

In order to open the house to the public we need to first repair some of the issues affecting the structure. Using a technique pioneered by noted conservator Morgan Phillips at Historic New England in the 1970s, the carpentry crew is injecting a custom-mixed acrylic emulsion into the walls and ceilings to stabilize loose plaster. This technique allows us to halt the failure of the plaster with minimal loss of original building fabric.

Assisting the crew in this work is the 2011 Carpentry Crew Fellow Nicholas Bogosian. Nicholas completed his coursework this spring in the Building Preservation program at Belmont Technical College in St. Clairsville, Ohio, and will graduate following his fellowship at Historic New England. He is working on an in-depth analysis of plaster composition and conditions in the Stekionis House.

View a slide show detailing the plaster re-adhesion process.

Please consider supporting this and other essential preservation projects with a gift to the Preservation Maintenance Fund. To learn more about our approach to preservation, visit our white papers section.

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Step-by-step plaster repair