Renovations continue at Farm House Museum

Bailey Freestone

Iowa State is known for having a long history of which its staff, faculty, alumni and students are proud, but taking care of such a large institution’s history isn’t easy.

There are several museums around Iowa State’s campus that encompass a different piece of its history. The Farm House Museum was built in 1860 and is the oldest building on campus. Being as old as the Farm House is, it’s understandable that it occasionally needs to be refurbished.

The museum was closed on July 1, 2014, for renovations. The renovations consist of window repair and replacement, wallpaper replacement and some exterior repainting. According to David Faux, University Museums’ interpretation specialist, the house needs it.

The Farm House became a museum 40 years ago, which is also the last time these renovations were done. 

Window replacement and repair is a main concern for the University Museums’ staff.

“The windows haven’t been doing a very good job keeping the elements at bay,” Faux said. “There has been an increase of dust and dirt coming through the poorly sealed windows that has caused some concern in regard to our object care.”

The wallpaper in the Farm House has not been replaced since it became a museum and is severely damaged from the many visitors it sees yearly. The department wants to bring back the original look of the house by replacing the old wallpaper with a pattern that is similar to the wallpaper that was hung when the house was first built.

The staff hopes that with the replacement of the wallpaper, the interior of the house will better reflect a historical photo taken in 1906 that is a highlight of the tour.

According to Lynette Pohlman, University Museums’ director and chief curator, staff plans to provide a more accurate educational interpretation of the historic campus house.

To achieve this goal, the staff is using the reinstallation of historic objects to create a fresh narrative that will go along with the new look of the house. The plan is to freshen up the existing stories by placing objects more cohesively throughout the house, which will help tell the stories more accurately.

The project is being funded entirely by donors, as the ISU museums are free to the public and only accept donations. The University Museums department plans to reopen the museum to the public Jan. 12, 2015, when classes resume for the spring semester.