When people first think about the Fairfield Foundation, they typically think about our archaeology programs, our public outreach, or perhaps our future home: the Center for Archaeology, Preservation and Education (CAPE). But there is something else you should know about us. We love architectural history, too! We love old gas stations (obviously), old houses, and old fortifications. We also love old mills, taverns and churches. But what we love most are the physical and intellectual landscapes where these places intersect. And who loves this as much as we do? Our partners at Adventures in Preservation.
Judith Broeker and Jamie Donahoe run Adventures in Preservation and are just as passionate about history and historic places as we are. We met over four years ago and teamed up on our first project in the summer of 2011, reglazing the original metal windows at the CAPE. The next year we teamed up on a plaster workshop and last year embarked on a new (old) project at Fairfield plantation, the cornerstone site of our organization. Judith and Jamie put together amazing experiences like these all over the globe – and have been doing it for years – so having their help at Fairfield is a true honor and a great way for us to learn and grow.
Next week (and the week after) we’ll host workshop participants – known as Jammers (a play on words for preservationists) – who will not only learn to excavate and document the manor house ruin at Fairfield plantation, but also help stabilize it. Just as with other Adventures in Preservation workshops, experts instruct the participants and there is constant hands-on work to drive the lessons home. Thane, Anna, and Dave will supervise the archaeology, but we have the great Ray Cannetti (historic mason and stone cutter), Jason Whitehead and Bill Neff (Colonial Williamsburg’s Trades Department), and Matt Webster (Colonial Williamsburg’s Curator of Architectural Collections) to handle assessing the Fairfield manor house ruin and instructing participants in the arts of lime mortar preparation, brick laying, and repairing sections of the brick foundation. Follow our updates daily over the next two weeks on Facebook, as our archaeology and preservation progress unfolds!
The most important lesson behind this workshop is the interconnection between these things we love: archaeology, preservation and education. We should not dig unless we have a plan in place to preserve what we discover. At the same time, we often need archaeology to precede the stabilization of historic buildings, so that we do not inadvertently destroy a building’s history while we are trying to save it. And most important of all, we must involve the public and share with them the discoveries. These lessons from the past benefit us all, but only if we make them accessible to everyone.
Interested in joining this adventure? There is still room, especially in the second week (August 25-29) (Click here to enroll). We have reduced rates for students AND for locals, with the costs going to support our continued work preserving the manor house. If you’re only in the area for a day or two, feel free to get in touch with us about coming to visit the project at no cost for a half day? Visitors are always welcome. You might like it so much, you enroll in next year’s project before you leave!