Eat Some Oysters, Save A Ceiling

Hooboy, we had a great night last night! Were you there? I know some of you were. Wasn’t it fun?

If you weren’t able to join us, let me catch you up to speed. First of all: we had delicious sandwiches from Taste and growlers of beer from Norfolk’s latest and greatest craft beer bar, The Birch.

Why the extravagance? To celebrate the achievements of our Young Associates Board, of course! Back in November, the newly-formed YAB got together and planned a big ol’ riverside oyster roast to benefit the museum’s conservation fund. The Hermitage collection needs quite a lot of conservation [as all decent and stately collections do], and foremost among those projects was the crumbling Master Bedroom ceiling. With great enthusiasm, the YAB took it upon themselves to raise the funds for the repair. Behold: the actively flaking plaster ceiling, damaged long ago by a radiator leak:

Crumble, crumble.

To say the oyster roast went well is an understatement. It was pure awesome. The community came together to support the project and our fund-raising goal was met.

The Roast and Toast crowd. Fab photo by Perry Mathewes.

I honestly never thought I would see this project complete (our list of conservation needs is seriously long, you guys). The YAB really saved the day on this one, and I cannot thank them enough for their winning enthusiasm and generosity of spirit. Now, time to get to work!

Plaster conservator extraordinaire Stephen Marder is our man for the job. Stephen is also a familiar face around the Visual Art School as a ceramics teacher and studio manager. What can I say, the guy is multi-talented. Here he is giving instruction at the wheel just the other day:

Stephen was kind enough to join us at the event last night for an in-depth look at the bedroom ceiling project. He answered our questions and explained his process each step of the way. I don’t know about you, but conservation is endlessly fascinating to me. I could listen to conservators explain the ins- and outs- of paint removal for hours. He uses surgeon’s tools, for goodness sake!

Work begins shortly on the ceiling (well, after I clear the room  and Stephen monitors moisture levels for a week or two to make sure the leak isn’t active). I will keep everybody updated here with photos and anecdotes. I’m fairly certain we’ll have dramatic scaffolding shots to keep you entertained. I am so excited to see this unfold! Thanks again to the Young Associates Board, who I will list by name:

  • E. Waightstill Avery
  • Carrie Coleman, Co-chair
  • Melanie Cramer
  • Alex Erving, Co-chair
  • Michael Glover
  • Angela Hill
  • Trisha Jones, Secretary
  • Paul Jones, Treasurer
  • John Meek
  • Ann O’Keefe
  • Kim Phillips
  • Cameron Poynter
  • Kelly Willette
  • John Yuill

You guys are the BEST.


Update: I don’t know much about beer, obviously, because I erroneously stated that The Birch is a microbrewery. Whoops. Turns out they are a CRAFT BEER BAR. They don’t brew their own beer, but they do stock lots of other delicious craft beers. You should go!


6 thoughts on “Eat Some Oysters, Save A Ceiling

  1. Keep up the good work! The event was great fun, but it’s purpose is even greater. There is so much to be done, but having that ceiling fixed is a magnificent start! Thank you all for your hard work. I can hardly wait to see the finished product. Liz

  2. Pingback: The Silver Lining « Hermitage Collection Connection

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