Clara Barton Museum

Washington, DC

From 2012-2013, we have acted as the consulting conservator to OLBN, Inc. For the restoration and conversion of Clara Barton’s boarding house and offices at 437 Seventh Street Northwest in Washington, DC, into a museum.

Clara Barton operated an office to aid missing-in-action soldiers out of her apartment after the close of the Civil War. After her tenancy ended, the building was partially occupied by a shoe factory; Clara’s former residence on the third floor was abandoned and unoccupied until it was effectively “rediscovered”, along with over 2000 Civil War-era artifacts, in 1996. The site is currently owned by the General Services Administration, with the forthcoming museum to be operated by the National Museum of Civil War Medicine.

The site had been mothballed since the early 20th century, leaving many historic features and finishes in-situ, but highly deteriorated. A comprehensive restoration scope was developed by the design team for conservation, preservation, or replication of historic wallpaper, woodwork, metalwork, plaster, gas lighting, and painted surfaces. Throughout the construction phase, our conservators provided a range of conservation services including quality control and construction oversight; documentation; paint analysis and color matching; product recommendations and specifications; and technical assistance on all aspects of preservation practice.