10192021 Rockingham Susan Buck

Dr. Susan Buck will offer new clues on the paint and finish used over the years on the Rockingham Meeting House.

ROCKINGHAM, Vt. — Renowned architectural restorationist Dr. Susan Buck will offer new clues as to the paint and finish used on and in the Rockingham Meeting House over the centuries, via a Zoom presentation Wednesday, Nov. 3, at 7 p.m.

During the 1798 town meeting, money was raised to paint the new building but no mention is made of what color. But now we know. Think a deep red with cream trim.

In early August of this year, Dr. Susan Buck spent several days on-site collecting paint and wood samples from the building’s interior and exterior, as well as from the 1816 hearse, funeral bier, and hearse barn, which comprise this National Historic Landmark.

Back at her Williamsburg laboratory, the samples were examined microscopically and with spectral analysis to determine the colors and chemical compositions of the various finishes used over the past 223 years.

These findings will help the Rockingham Historic Preservation Commission decide on how to go forward in preserving this structure. “First thing we considered, do no harm by introducing elements that might degrade rather than conserve the wood,” said Commission Coordinator Walter Wallace.

On staff at Colonial Williamsburg and on the Winterthur faculty at the University of Delaware, Dr. Buck applies the science of art restoration to architectural restoration. She is known internationally for her historic preservation detective work at landmarks such as Mount Vernon and Monticello. She has also worked at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage sites, such as Beijing’s Forbidden City. Her draft report can be viewed on the Rockingham Historic Preservation Commission webpage at www.rockbf.org.

To receive an invitation to join this live Zoom presentation, contact programming@rockinghamlibrary.org or call the library at 802-463-4270.

Dr. Buck’s paint and finish analysis project was made possible through funding from the Vermont Department for Historic Preservation and the National Park Service. This lecture is collaboration between the Rockingham Historic Preservation Commission and the Rockingham Library. For more information about Rockingham Meeting House conservation programs, email Walter Wallace clg@rockbf.org.

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