18th-century parlor taking shape in West Campus

Conservators at the West Campus Shared Preservation and Conservation facility have been at work cleaning, preserving and restoring architectural elements from a first-floor parlor of an 18th-century home located in Gilead, Connecticut.

Yale purchased the room's fittings in 1930, but they have been held in storage ever since, without being assembled. Once the new space became available in West Campus, the project to reconstruct the room began in earnest in September 2009.

Using archival sources as a guide, the Yale team was able to authenticate the layout of the circa 1740 room and to reassemble its disparate elements — including mantel, doorways, wainscoting, trim, cabinet and windows — according to the original design.


Attached to modular and supporting framing, the entire room will be transported and installed in the renovated American decorative arts galleries of Street Hall, which are scheduled to reopen in 2012.

Among the unique features of the family parlor are a paneled chimney wall with applied fluted pilasters and a decorative summer beam casing, one of the few carved summer beam casings to survive from the period.

This time-lapse video shows the reassembly of the room in preparation for its move back to its permanent home at the Yale University Art Gallery.

Click here to watch.