In our inner worlds, the past is always present, and we don’t have to pay financially to maintain it. But in the physical world tangible witnesses from the past – old buildings, special landscapes, books, papers, artworks, material culture of all kinds – require our help to continue their journeys through time – journeys often much longer than our individual lives. That help takes financial support as well as interest and commitment.
The agricultural and educational programs at Clermont are self-sustaining, but major capital projects including historic building preservation, large-scale archaeological research, and conservation of key artifacts are not included in the annual operating budget. These funds must come from organizations and individuals interested in seeing such tangible remnants of the past kept alive for our children and grandchildren to experience.
Below are some of the projects for which the Foundation needs help. Please contact CEO Bob Stieg at firstname.lastname@example.org if one of these projects interests you or your organization.
1. Stabilization and re-shingling of the Slave Quarters (1823, log)
This 41’x 27’ building, with late 19th and early 20th century additions, reflects the entire history of African Americans with Clermont, and with the region, from slavery through Emancipation and paid labor living on site, from the 1750’s to the 1950’s. It is a rare survivor of those built in log, and even rarer as an example of a slave quarter deliberately built on “scientific farming” principles of the early 19th century, planned for heating and cooking based on stoves, not fireplaces (to enhance the productivity of enslaved labor with more efficient cooking and reduced illness).
Its dry-stone foundations, elements of its log walls, and the wracking of its original roof structure must be repaired before its rotted wood shingling and outer weather-boarding (largely gone) can be replaced. The building will not be disassembled for repair. Archaeology must be conducted around the building prior to foundation repair. Estimated cost: $100,000.
2. Repair of South and North Porches of Owner’s House (1755-56, timberframe)
The floors, floor framing, and structural supports (18th century brick pillars under South Porch), ca 1788, must be repaired, and on the North Porch the Tuscan columns restored to place. Complete archaeology must be conducted under the porches, including the filled-in 1756 stone stairs into the basement from the south front, prior to the completion of repairs. Estimated cost: $55,000.
3. Repair of Corn House (1849, timberframe)
The large corn house, 42’ x 12’ near the 1917 barn, is typical of Chesapeake corn houses, with heavy construction, two 16 x 12 storage bays, and a 10’ x 12’ central bay for loading access, shucking room, etc.. It was used for storage and fowl for many years, and needs to be repaired in order to once again serve its original purpose. This will include removal of a very large shed roof attached to its north side in the second-half of the 20th century which is pushing the original building over to the south, repairs to water-rotted structural elements, repairs to its tall stone supporting piers, and a new traditional metal roof to replace the decayed and partly missing 20th century galvanized roofing. Estimated cost: $45,000.
4. Conservation of about 150 paper documents and photos
Clermont’s archives include significant letters, accounts, and photos from the late 18th, 19th, and first half of the 20th centuries, including a second edition Bishop Madison Map of Virginia. A number of these, inappropriately stored for decades in open buildings, or framed under glass, require professional intervention by paper conservators. Estimated cost: $15,000.
5. Conservation of a 1799 Sampler
Textile items in Clermont’s collections include a beautiful sampler made by a thirteen-year old girl named Elizabeth Green in 1799. It came to Clermont via Elizabeth Williams’ mother, Caroline Caverly Rust, who received it from a great-great aunt with New York connections. Professional opinion suggests a possible New England origin, but the design is unusual. The textile is under glass in a long-term frame, but may be on its original board mounting, Investigation, full documentation, conservation as necessary, and possible remounting if necessary are needed. Estimated cost: $3,500.