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Painting at The Nathaniel Hawthorne Birthplace

Photo taken in the front stairwell of the Nathaniel Hawthorne Birthplace. You can see a layer of antique wallpaper behind the lath that has been exposed by crumbling plaster.This month our preservation team has been hard at work inside the Nathaniel Hawthorne Birthplace. The plaster wallphoto of the front entrance of The Nathaniel Hawthorne Birthplace with a table set up to make repairs on the plaster in the font staircase. in the front staircase needed repairs, which is a very involved process. The team removed sections of plaster that are no longer bonded to the lath, meaning that it wasn’t stuck to the thin strips of wood in the wall. The wall was repaired with two different types of plaster. First, a layer of a structural plaster was bonded to the lath to fill the wall, and then a special veneer plaster was laid over to even the surface of the wall. The surface was then primed with calcimine, a whitewash that contains either zinc oxide, chalk calcium carbonate, or slaked lime, and glue. This primer allows paint to stick to the plaster. A final layer of paint matched the repair to the rest of the wall.

The preservation team also gave the rest of the Birthplace a onceover. Carpentry repairs were made on a few stairs and in the front hallway. Peeling wall and trim paint was scraped away and repainted. The floors were repainted with Allflor-brand paint, which has a matte finish to make the floors less slippery. We are ready and excited to reopen the Birthplace to guests beginning this month!

Date: March 10, 2022

Author: Holly Watson

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