An Examination of Wallpaper at the Akin House

The inhabitants of our 1762 house, still extant in 2017, would have added decorative details over the centuries. Originally constructed with wide pine panels serving as interior walls and whitewashed, popular in the 17th and 18th centuries.

[For more information about whitewashing, please refer to another blog on this subject, under construction.]

When the Akin House property was saved by the Waterfront Historic Area League of New Bedford in 2003 with the use of Dartmouth’s Community Preservation Act funds for its purchase, the house was deemed beyond saving and, frankly, a total mess. With the exception of die-hard preservationists and historians, very few believed it was worth saving.

DHPT took over the preservation and restoration of the property in 2008 and our work continues to this day. Our accomplishments and the history of this house are featured throughout this website.

We found many layers of wallpaper to get to the original pine panels. These layers represent many centuries of decorative enhancements up until the late 20th century. Over the transpiring years of restoration work, we have saved fragments of wallpaper.  While some bits and pieces had greatly deteriorated, as long as it could be identified, we set it aside for future study. We were particularly interested in the layers of wallpaper found in the two parlors. We photographed in situ and set aside the released wallpaper for future use as didactic displays for education purposes.

Below is just a sample. For a closeup, click on the image.

Wallpaper fragments in Large Parlor. The pine panel is visible




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