Preservation Projects and New Drone

December 11, 2017

At work in the yard at Concord, N.H.

Caring for the eight Mary Baker Eddy Historic Houses in our collection is an essential part of our work at Longyear Museum, as they help to show visitors where and how Mrs. Eddy lived. A number of important projects were undertaken this year to preserve these buildings — projects made possible in large part by contributions from readers like you. We want to say a heartfelt thank you, and share a few examples of what we’ve been able to accomplish recently with your support.

At the house in Concord, N.H., a major drainage and irrigation project was completed in August. Over many years, the ground around the house had built up until water was no longer draining away from the foundation. To remedy this, the lawn was regraded and underground drainage pipes were laid. Three dry wells were also installed, plus the front steps and walkway were rebuilt as well.

The barn door sill in Rumney, N.H.

In October, the barn at the house in Rumney, N.H., received needed attention. The sill under the barn door had rotted away, as had timbers underneath, along with some adjacent vertical posts. Roger Messman, a volunteer from Chicago who helped out on a project last year, returned to lend an extra hand to Facilities Manager John Alioto. New and sturdy timber was spliced in to the problem areas, and for a bit of fun, the team decided to hand plane the rough-hewn oak that was used for the new sill, just as it would have been done historically.

In November, several new hires to the Historic House department started just as a major project came up unexpectedly. The team had been preparing the Rumney house for its new incoming resident overseer, when a leaking pipe led to the discovery that one of the ceilings needed reinforced support. Working round the clock, the team not only completed the extensive repair but also had the opportunity to bond! It was certainly an example of Longyear being provided with just the right people at the right time.

Adding new supports in Rumney, N.H..

And finally, Christmas came a little early this year for the Facilities department! Last spring, the team purchased an aerial drone. The drone offers a creative solution to a longstanding issue in building maintenance: how to inspect those hard-to-reach places, like roofs and chimneys. For example, the roof at the house in Chestnut Hill is approximately 50 feet off the ground. The drone has quickly proven to be safer, quicker, and just as effective as sending workers up to conduct inspections. In addition, we’re also getting never-before-seen aerial footage of the houses, some of which we have been sharing on our Instagram page.

Currently, the Longyear Air Corps has two pilots who have earned their “wings.” Humor aside, in September, two employees actually did receive their FAA Remote Pilot Certificates in order to fly the drone. They had to learn about aviation and weather principles, as well as air space rules and regulations. In fact, we were surprised to learn that some of the Longyear properties fall within restricted air space; waivers had to be requested to use the drone at these homes.

Test flight for Longyear’s new aerial drone.

Aerial shot above 400 Beacon St., Chestnut Hill, MA.

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