Schlesinger Library

A Pause to Reflect

2018 has been a very busy year at M&A. With projects in various phases and in various locations sometimes it is rare to find a moment to take a breath and reflect on the year past; but here, just for a few minutes, we’d like to share some of our highlights from a very exciting 2018.

The Massachusetts State House Senate Chamber restoration project is just about complete and slated to be revealed to the public when the 191st legislature convenes on January 2, 2019. This was the senate chamber’s first restoration and renovation in 120 years. As part of the restoration team M&A was responsible for several large components of the overall project. One of the most time-consuming parts of the restoration was the removal of 1544 wooden rustication panels. These needed to be individually numbered so that they could be returned to the exact same spot on the walls once restoration was finished. These panels were stripped of as much as 20 layers of paint then restored, finished and returned to their original positions. (Check back in the New Year for an article on the techniques used to strip the panels.)

Other aspects of the project that we were charged with included the restoration and refinishing of all the historic furniture, including the rostrum and the two huge semi-circles of the senators’ desks. We also performed complete restoration of the interior of the dome. The dome includes ornate wood panels as well as carved wood decorations that represent the 360 degrees of the circle. We also completely restored the chamber’s ornate galleries with columns, pediments and railing systems. The final reveal of the finished product is eagerly awaited in January.

During the summer of 2018 we completed our first project for the University of Massachusetts at their Lowell campus. The project involved the restoration and renovation of three floors of the newly-renamed Dandeneau Hall (formerly Pasteur Hall). The plan included opening the space by stripping it back to its original wooden beams to show off the building’s heritage as part of the Lowell Textile Institute. Those old wooden beams needed to be re-enforced to support the renovations. We found ourselves learning from the project as we discovered a new technique for re-enforcing the beams. For more on the new technique, what we learned, and to see photos of the job go here

Our ongoing work includes a large restoration project at Yale. We began work this fall and it will continue into the spring of 2020, M&A are restoring approximately 300 doors and the millwork in the historic classrooms and halls. The project is in the early stages right now, but we will be sharing updates on our progress throughout 2019.

We are just starting restoration of the magnificent monumental windows at Radcliffe’s Schlesinger Library, and as with every project, start-up is an adventure, full of surprises as we learn what the building has in store for us.

We embark on each new architectural restoration project with enthusiasm. What we do is our passion. Restoration is a valuable way to preserve our history; historic buildings remind us daily of our place in the community and the world.  Preservation allows us to pay respect to our history and our architectural and cultural heritage for future generations. We are privileged and grateful to have the opportunity to use our talents to preserve these important heritage buildings and we are looking forward to new challenges and opportunities to work with our colleagues in preservation and construction in 2019.