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Foundation Matters

The Next Phase of the Kitchen House

Posted: June 12, 2024

Museum Advisory Committee at the Russell House

Museum Advisory Committee visits the interior of the Kitchen House, 2024

As summer is heating up, so are preservation activities at both House Museums thanks in part to the Foundation’s new Museums Advisory Committee. This dedicated group is made up of eight professionals representing a diverse range of perspectives and professional experience in museum interpretation, education and historic preservation. Spending time with the Advisory Committee is “priceless” says Tracey Todd, Interim Museums Director. “Their knowledge comes from years of academic and practical experience, and we’re already finding new ways of thinking about museum projects even as the group is just beginning to work together.”

In the near term, the committee is helping move forward the next phase of the Kitchen House restoration at the Nathaniel Russell House. This summer, an excavation in the Kitchen House cellar will occur under the careful guidance of archaeologist Andrew Agha and his team. If previous excavations are an example, artifacts will be uncovered that help tell the stories of all the people who lived and worked in the house. Open Archaeology Days at the Nathaniel Russell House will be announced this summer so the public can learn about the progress and most recent findings.

Andrew Agha, PhD

In addition to the archaeological sifting and screening at the Nathaniel Russell House, the Aiken-Rhett House is undergoing some behind the scenes study. The house is being preserved “as found” so the preservation team and its summer interns are performing a crack analysis as part of the periodic conditions assessments. Measuring cracks in plaster and other decorative and structural elements is invaluable over time in creating and adjusting preservation plans for the fragile but very important structure. Also, this summer members of the Museums Advisory Committee and other professionals will remove floorboards and baseboards in carefully selected locations to observe construction methods and conditions from 19th century additions to the house. These steps will further our understanding of how the structure is standing the test of time and help determine its long-term preservation needs.

Aiken-Rhett House Double Parlor, evident cracks in plaster and ceiling.

As stewards of two of the city’s most important historic houses, the Foundation gratefully acknowledges the support of the new Museums Advisory Committee and all the individual contributions of community members who are advancing the goals of preserving and protecting these essential landmarks of Charleston.

Learn more about the Kitchen House Project on YouTube and our BLOG.

Support preservation efforts by making a DONATION to the Foundation and its house museums or by purchasing a TICKET to visit each site.


Archaeology work in the Kitchen of the Nathaniel Russell House, 2021

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