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Preparing the New Room

Following the de-installation of the New Room, during which Mount Vernon’s Fine and Decorative Arts Collections team removed the room’s objects for safe storage, the next step was to prepare the space for the following phase of the Mansion Revitalization Project— removing the mopboards and floorboards in order to access and repair the home's framing.

Before doing so, the Architecture team undertook the important task of covering the walls with protective plastic to ensure the preservation of this significant space.

Clockwise from top right: Preservation Carpenter Pete Seroskie, Assistant Restoration Manager Steve Fancsali, Preservation Carpenter Joe Zemp, and Preservation Carpenter Allison Brashears hang protective plastic over the walls of the New Room. (MVLA)

Virtual Tour: The New Room

The New Room

George Washington called the last and grandest addition to the Mansion his “New Room." With its two-story-high ceiling, detailed architectural ornamentation, and stylish furnishings, the New Room intended to convey unpretentious beauty and fine craftsmanship, qualities Washington believed communicated the new nation’s values. Mount Vernon’s staff is taking every possible step to preserve the integrity of this room during the Mansion Revitalization Project.

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Assistant Restoration Manager Steve Fancsali (left) and Preservation Carpenter Pete Seroskie carefully apply plastic sheeting to the New Room’s iconic Venetian window. This will help protect a hallmark of the room—the delicate composition ornament attached to the panels of the Venetian window. Composition is a linseed oil-based putty pressed into intricately carved molds and allowed to harden. The technique replaced the need to have a skilled wood carver on site to create elaborate architectural decoration. (MVLA)

After assessing the room’s walls, Architecture team members began applying the plastic sheeting with care and precision. This high-quality, durable plastic will ensure the walls are adequately protected from dust and debris during the removal of the New Room’s floorboards. The team paid special attention to areas around windows, doors, and architectural features to ensure a snug fit.


Preservation Carpenter Joe Zemp attaches protective plastic near the Vaughan mantelpiece, which is further protected with a custom-built wooden box. (MVLA)

Before applying the plastic sheeting, a protective enclosure, equipped with movement sensors, was constructed around the room’s iconic Vaughan mantelpiece. Additionally, temperature and humidity monitors were installed to enable Mount Vernon staff to continuously monitor the room’s condition.

With these efforts, Mount Vernon’s Preservation team can proceed with the landmark Mansion Revitalization Project while ensuring that the grandeur envisioned by George Washington remains intact.

With the room covered in protective plastic, Mount Vernon staff could begin the process of accessing the Mansion’s wooden framing elements. (MVLA)

Protecting the New Room

Before Preservation carpenters remove the floorboards from the New Room, the team works to make sure the room's grandeur is protected.

Mansion Revitalization Blog

Follow along as we post updates and discoveries from the landmark Mansion Revitalization Project.

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