Interiors Conservation of the Torrey West House

Interiors Conservation of the Torrey West House

OSSABAW ISLAND, GA (March 15, 2010) — The Torrey West house on Ossabaw Island, built in 1926, has remained almost unchanged in the 51 years since Nell and Henry Torrey built and furnished it.  Like the unspoiled island surrounding it, the house’s mostly untouched condition presents unique opportunities for studying furnishings and interiors of nearly 100 years ago.  Yet, the fragility of the home’s contents also presents challenges for their preservation and maintenance.

In January, 2010 undergrads, grad students and professionals in furniture conservation and historic preservation spent twelve days on Ossabaw. This “Preventative Conservation Workshop” was a credited short course sponsored by the Art Conservation Masters Degree Program, at the University of Delaware/Winterthur Museum and Country Estate, one of only four such programs in the U.S.  

Led by David Bayne, Genesis Project alumnus and a conservator for the State of New York, the students conducted an assessment of the furnishings of the Torrey West House, established “Best Practices” for care and maintenance of the furnishings, and deep cleaned the Living Room, the Sun Room, and the Dining Room using those Best Practices.

Additional instruction was provided by an architectural conservator, Matt Webster and a textiles specialist, Patricia Silence from Colonial Williamsburg.

Bayne hopes that this Preventative Conservation Workshop will be held annually on Ossabaw Island.  Check out the workshop blog by Rose Daly, a participant in this inaugural workshop. Rose Daly Blog