Saturday, December 12, 2015

Learning From History

Simeon Strong House built 1744
Strong House (hidden by tree) adjacent to Jones Library on right

Amherst Historical Society outgoing President Jim Wald updated the membership at their annual meeting this afternoon about two exciting projects now underway, including a possible physical joining with the adjacent Jones Library and a high tech archaeological study of the Museum grounds.

The Strong House is one of the oldest properties in Amherst set well back from Amity Street, so the front and side yards are pretty much undisturbed from the way they were over 270 years ago.

Jim Wald on final day as Amherst Historical Society President (replaced by Georgia Barnhill)

Last month UMass Archaeological Services used ground penetrating radar to map the entire grounds looking for signs of buried treasure.  Not so much coins and jewelry but anything that was man made, possible discarded, and now remains hidden below the surface.

Old outhouses are considered the mother lode because household trash was often deposited along with biodegradable wastes.

Ground Penetrating Radar overlay on drone photo

The $20,000 study, paid for with Community Preservation Act historical preservation funds, also included drone shots of the property overlayed with the ground penetrating radar results, as well as infra red photos from above.

Infra red drone shot

Study results should be available before spring.

The Strong House now houses over 7,000 individual artifacts dating back to the founding of Amherst, but the overcrowded facility lacks climate control.

Museum officials have been pursuing an alliance with the Jones Library, especially now since the Library is in the process of expanding with the state covering half the cost.

The Strong House was donated to the Amherst Historical Society with the condition it remain in its original state as a Museum, and should that covenant be broken ownership would revert to the Massachusetts Historical Commission (who does not like to own buildings).

Museum officials have placed a $42,000 proposal before the Community Preservation Act Committee for funding to work out the legal problems associated with a possible merger with the Jones Library, or simply expanding the building.

In addition the money will also pay for repairs to the exterior of the building and a dendrochronology study of the wood to determine more exact dating of various parts of the building.


Dr. Ed said...

Amy ideas why there is that hot spot? Where is the heat coming from?

Any ideas what the color diferental is for the various temperatures?

Larry Kelley said...

No idea. But I'm sure the full report from UMass will have those answers.

Anonymous said...

I worry every time I see Dickinson's original dress in that beautiful old tinderbox. RM

Anonymous said...

What a waste of money. This is embarrassing.

Larry Kelley said...

Well as long as it only embarrasses Anons ...