Preservation

Only two more spaces to preserve!

Preservation work at the Dwight-Derby House over the last 15 years has been extensive. The house, barn and land needed to be restored and preserved. Restoration on the house started shortly after the property was purchased in 1996. The first step was to develop a preservation plan, and once completed, the implementation began. This effort is ongoing, even today. 

The house had a cellar, first floor, second floor, attic and breezeway that needed to be restored into an historic site and museum.

Our first, focus was to make the building structurally sound. The sills were replaced, the front parlor’s floor was sistered and support beams and posts were replaced where need. Once the building was sound, attention went to aesthetics and maintenance.

First we focused on the exterior. The shingles were removed, numbered, restored and replaced. The roof was replaced, the windows were restored and the chimney was repaired and pointed.

Then, we turned our attention to the breezeway. It was a shack-like structure with a slab floor and open areas exposed to elements. In certain sections you could not stand. The plan was to remove this structure and build a new space that could house a handicapped bathroom, an exhibit hall and a meeting space. In 2001 this structure was completed and later named “Derby Hall”.

Next, the restoration of the interior was started on the first floor, including its walls, floors and the trim in the Parlor, Front Hall and Dining Room. We then moved onto the second floor.

There we tackled the Parlor Chamber, West Chamber, Office, Back Hall, Bathroom, Victorian Bathroom and the Attic’s Boat Bottom Bedroom. This left us with two more rooms to preserve and restore: the Kitchen and the Pantry/Milk Room. 

We then turned our sights on the Carriage House or Barn. It needed its main floor, loft and exterior restored and outfitted with an agricultural exhibit, which is completed except for the shingling of the north wall.

The town’s Public Works Department regraded the grounds for drainage and Garden Continuum created a landscape plan to bring the property back to an earlier time. Some of this plan has been implemented.

Finally, our attention went to the basement. Unfortunately a river flowed through our basement — a river that probably existed for hundreds of years. We invited a representative from Wood Hammer and Nails to advise us on this problem. We are happy to say that the river is no longer flowing.

These restoration projects were extremely telling and we made many discoveries along the way about the house and its people. Do stop in for a visit and we will share these discoveries with you.

A big thank you goes to the Medfield’s Public Works Department for all their support in helping us accomplish our goals, to Harry Pritoni for volunteering his time and skills to transform this house into what you see today and all the other supporting players who made this all possible.