Posted by: PearlSBuckHouse | 02/13/2013

Exposing the Beams: February 2013

Welcome Back! We are pleased to bring you up to date on our preservation project at the Pearl S. Buck House National Historic Landmark since our last post in August 2012.  As a result of a mild start to the 2012 winter season, the installation of an elevated sand mound septic system to service the restrooms in the Cottage and Cultural Center on the historic site was successfully installed prior to winter temperatures really taking hold. The sand mound will be seeded for grass in the spring.

Photo #63-New Sand Mound

Photo #62 - New Septic System

Preliminary work to begin packing the contents of the Pearl S. Buck House actually began in late December, behind the scenes of our 34th Annual Holiday Festival of Trees. While visitors enjoyed the holiday décor, our Curator, with volunteer assistance, began the careful process of removing and/or relocating collection items routinely stored in rooms that are not on the tour.

After the holiday décor was removed by the decorators in January, the Curator worked in tandem with volunteers to methodically protect the collections and rooms where renovation work would take place during this final phase of our eight-year journey towards full restoration and preservation of the exterior and interior of the home.

Collection items were first photographed on display in each room, then recorded in an electronic record that documented: item # and location on display, box# item stored in, and location of temporary storage of boxes. Whenever possible, items packed away into boxes, were stored within the room where they were on display. All furnishings were consolidated into locations within the rooms and covered by fabric (sheets, table cloths, and blankets) and then covered in plastic to allow for contractor access.

The largely intact collection dates to the time of Buck’s residence (1937-1973) and includes items that reflect her many years of global travel and her early life in China.  Here is a before and after perspective of the Large Library.


Pearl S. Buck International volunteers help with packing the clothing and contents of Ms. Buck’s bedroom closet. Pictured L to R: Sally Wilkinson, Susie Woodland, and Judy Nygard.


Here is a before and after perspective of the Richard Walsh Office in the Cottage.

Photo #67 - RWO Situ


By the first week of February, the House was ready to be turned over to the firm responsible for overseeing Period B of Phase III which consists of interior work including HVAC unit modifications, humidification and dehumidification adjustments, and upgrade of components as needed; complete rewiring of the House to meet code requirements, including rewiring of fixtures, and power devices; installation of UV storm windows; sealing off existing non-use plumbing fixtures; smoke detection system upgrades; replacing security system equipment and adding cameras along tour pathways; repair of wood trim, sills, built-in cabinets, wood flooring, plaster and gypsum wall board, and application of a fresh coat of paint to all painted surfaces.  In accordance with historic museum preservation standards, the contractors will preserve existing materials, utilize techniques to restore existing materials and replacement will be performed only as necessary utilizing in-kind materials.

Photo #69 - Hard Hat Zone

Staff is continuing to submit grant proposals in an effort to raise the remaining $424,815 required to meet the $1.6 million dollar projected costs of Phase III. You can help us reach our fundraising goal by contributing to the capital campaign via our website at


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