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Old Parsonage Becomes Conditioned Museum Space

Cummington, MA

Challenge:

Stabilize a dilapidated early 19th century cape and convert it into a climate-controlled and historically representative office and research center for a very active Historical Commission and museum.

The Town of Cummington Historical Commission maintains and operates an extensive collection of historic artifacts in its 17-room early 1800s tavern-turned-museum. Their facilities, which include a two-story barn, carriage shed, 1840s cider mill, and replica of a 1900s country store, have no conditioned space for their ever-growing accumulation of records and files. They realized an opportunity when an historic cape across the street from the Kingman Tavern Museum went on the market. The house was one of a few remaining capes originally built for mill workers, later purchased by the Congregational Church for a parsonage.

The Historical Commission hired Quigley Builders to create a conditioned office space for research and active work on collections with a small meeting room, that would be fully accessible and open year-round. It was important as well to preserve as much of its historic character as possible.

While the location and historic significance of the building made it a perfect choice, the house itself was in sorry shape. Extensive structural repairs were necessary to stabilize the building, which had been minimally maintained and then abandoned for several years. We adapted our usual energy conservation techniques, including insulation and air sealing, in a way that would not harm the historic appearance of the building. Rather than installing the Mitzubishi minisplit air source heat pump on the wall, we used a less intrusive ceiling mounted version, along with a Zehnder heat recovery ventilation system, to ensure good air exchange. A barrier-free entrance was created on the north side of the 19th century addition, so the street fa├žade retains its historic integrity.

The interior is clean, bright, and open. We were able to reuse all the old doors and trim. (Needs an ending that could include the walk through by Hist Comm members and Bill Streeter...)

Project Team:

Architectural drawings | Sean McWilliams, Cummington

Asbestos removal | xx

Concrete Work | Harris & Gray, Ashfield

Energy Consultant | Center for EcoTechnology, Florence

Electricians | Poissant Electric, Ashfield

Excavation | Peter Marcoux, Cummington

Exterior Painting | Sunnyside Painting, Cummington

HVAC | Girard Heating and Air Conditioning, Westfield

Insulation | Hanrahan & Sons, Northfield

Masonry | Barry & Tim Nye, Ashfield

Metal Roof | Doug Deane

Plumbing | Arnold Purinton Plumbing and Heating, Charlemont

xx | Cummington Supply

Recycling and Waste Disposal | Dave Wickles Trucking, Hatfield

Window Restoration | Old Window Workshop, Springfield

Additional information