Buccleuch Mansion has been freshly painted, and the shutters have been repaired, rebuilt and replaced. So we are excited to announce that the restoration of Buccleuch Mansion is almost complete!
The Jersey Blue Curator Committee continues to oversee the renovations and restoration of Buccleuch Mansion. Meetings with tradesmen and the City of New Brunswick are taking place weekly to finish the updates to our grand old house.
The plaster contractor is finishing up the final work of repairs to the plaster at the mansion; the projection for completion is mid-September. The painters will then be in to give everything a fresh coat of paint and replace wallpaper where repairs were made on the second floor. Our best estimate is moving furniture and office equipment, and all of the museum's collection will start approximately mid-to-late October.
Jersey Blue Chapter members, family and friends will be asked for help once we have our possessions moved from storage and back into the mansion. The curator committee has worked on a plan for re-setting the rooms, starting with the first floor. More information will be available on the details once we have a firm date. Tentative plans include:
1. We will give the house a thorough cleaning.
Once the renovation and painting work is complete, the house will need a cleaning from top to bottom, to assure that the windows are clean, the floors and closets are vacuumed and wiped, and every surface is wiped clean before moving our collections, furniture and furnishings back into the mansion.
Folding tables and chairs were stored in the mansion during renovations, and they will need to be cleaned before we use them. We will need Jersey Blue members and volunteers to help once the major cleaning is done.
2. We will move and unpack boxes from our self-storage unit.
The Curator Committee and several volunteers packed, moved and stored many boxes of vintage clothing, chapter files and other fragile items that were then placed into a local, secure storage unit for preservation and access during mansion renovations.
We will need Jersey Blue members and volunteers to help retrieve the boxes from the self-storage unit and move them back to the mansion.
3. All the collections, furniture and furnishings in storage will be transported to the mansion and unloaded.
Last August, we contracted a moving and storage company, who packed up and transported the furniture, furnishings and any large-scale items left in the mansion, as well as the items loaned to the Cornelius Low House in Piscataway, to a temperature-controlled storage facility.
Since it took over three moving vans and a crew of six movers to secure and load every item from all three floors, we know that it will take at least that many truckloads to return our furniture and furnishings back to the mansion. We are hoping that a move later in the fall will prevent the extreme temperatures we experienced during the move OUT of the mansion!
The furnishings, paintings, furniture and collection items will be distributed to each ‘assigned’ room during the move back into the mansion. It will then be up to the Curator Committee and Jersey Blue members/volunteers to unpack and re-set up each room.
4. We will unpack and set up the first floor and third floor office.
We plan to concentrate our efforts to the rooms on the first floor, planning to reopen the ‘Museum at Buccleuch’ once we have it all re-set, which includes the dining/conference room, the colonial parlor and victorian parlor. The main first floor hallway will be left open, to be set up for chapter meeting space.
The law office will become our new museum room – we will have the large base cabinets and accompanying glass-doored top cabinets from the third floor arranged around the wall space to accommodate museum displays and rotating exhibits from our vast collection of items.
The second and third floor rooms will be closed until we are able to get them unpacked and arranged, with the exception of the third floor office. This is the only room in the building that has adequate electrical connections for office equipment, and we will be setting it up with file cabinets, desk and office supplies.
Once the moving and storage vans have left, we will need volunteers to help as we unpack the boxes, one room and floor at a time, and arrange furniture, and replace items into the closets and drawers of each room. Pictures will need to be hung, some of the items will need to be sent out for cleaning and/or wiped down before re-setting the collection.
The Curator Committee will set up a schedule of work days for the second and third floors, once the first floor and office are set up and opened, which we expect to begin in early spring 2019.
5. We will set up the second floor museum rooms.
6. The third floor museum rooms will be set up.
There will be many, many days of volunteer work needed to accomplish getting just the first floor open. We hope to have our holiday social at Buccleuch, so plan to roll up your sleeves and let someone from the Curator Committee know if you are available to help!
Although we had hoped that come mid-year 2018, Jersey Blue would be planning a grand reopening/open house celebration, the extent of the restoration and renovations needed to secure the foundations and repairs to both the interior and exterior of the building made it impossible to meet that timeline.
We still plan to schedule an event to announce the completion of this massive undertaking, with open houses and tours, but at this time, we are looking at mid-late spring 2019 to be able to accomplish that schedule.
We look forward to reopening the Museum at Buccleuch for another 25-30 years before it will need another ‘facelift’ project of this scope!
Written by Susan Luczu
Susan Luczu has been a member of the Jersey Blue Chapter since 2009 and serves as the director of Buccleuch Mansion, chapter corresponding secretary, publicity and media specialist, DAR Good Citizens program committee chair, and chapter programming committee member as well as NJDAR central district director. She is a third great-granddaughter of Joseph Mishler, a private in the Lancaster County, Pennsylvania militia during the Revolutionary War.
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