Cleaning House – Behind the Scenes Slideshow

The January clean is complete! Tudor Place re-opens for tours on February 2, at 10:00 a.m. Here is a slideshow of photos taken during the clean…

Cleaning House Part II – Cleaning the Federal Period Chandelier

Well, we are almost done!  A lovely slide show of pictures will be posted next week, but until then, here is a short video of the chandelier cleaning. 

Collections Assistant Joni Joseph explains the process of cleaning the Federal Period chandelier that hangs in the dining room while Nina Owcsarek dusts the crystals.

This chandelier is believed to be one of the few lighting fixtures to survive from the Federal period. Armistead Peter, III wrote that it originally hung in the Drawing Room, where Lafayette was entertained in 1824. A. Peter, III writes further, “It had been taken down, the crystals appeared to have been senselessly pulled apart, and had been packed in a box in this condition. The frame had been put with them in the attic….” This was probably prior to the Civil War when Britannia W. Kennon installed gasoliers. Many years later A. Peter, III restrung the chandelier. At that time he discovered that apparently not all the holes pierced in the metal frame for stringing had been used. Without a complete set of crystals, it was impossible to be certain of the original configuration. The tin wax-cups, “…are original, and were made because the candles dripped upon the shoulders of the people below. My great-grandmother told my father [A. Peter, Jr.] that they were made locally. The chain around the upper part is an improvisation of my own….”

Metal and cut glass; English; c. 1810

We’re Cleaning House! (Part I)

Every January Tudor Place is closed to the public for the entire month. It may seem quiet on the outside, but the inside is buzzing with activity! Right now our Collections and Conservation staff is doing an extra thorough clean and assessment of the historic house and objects on display. The rugs are pulled up, furniture is pulled out, ladders are climbed to reach the highest parts of the ceilings and light fixtures, etc. Basically, it is our version of “spring cleaning.”

This year we thought it would be fun to share some of the projects that are going on inside the house while the gates are closed….
Cleaning the Historic Marble in the Foyer:
Director of Architectural Conservation, Cynthia Silva explains how she is cleaning the historic marble floors…. “After testing a number of surfactants the most effective product was chosen to complete the cleaning of the marble vestibule floor, this was a pH neutral gel formulated to remove soiling from marble and limestone. In order to better control the cleaning, a work area approximately 3×8 feet was taped off, the marble was then dampened with a sponge and an even thickness of gel cleaner was applied to the marble. Because the gel required a dwell time of 30 minutes to achieve the desired result, plastic sheeting was placed over top the work area to prevent drying. After 30 minutes, the surface was agitated with a soft bristled brush to help loosen and lift the now softened dirt and grime. The floor was then sponged with clean water to completely remove the product. Once all sections of the floor are completed the marble will be assessed for any additional spot treatments required to minimize the appearance of stubborn stains.”


The below photo shows the contrast between the gel-treated edges and the center of the floor pre-treatment…

Next:  Taking apart the Drawing Room….