Haney House Museum Restoration, 2017-2018
The museum opened after renovations on July 15th, 2018
With the assistance of the Province of British Columbia through the BC Canada 150 program and City of Maple Ridge capital funds, there is now a refreshed look (in progress) to Haney House Museum, a mid-Victorian heritage home of early European settler Thomas Haney, and his family who moved to the area from Ontario in the 1870’s. The property was built by Thomas, with the help of Samuel Edge and Daniel Callaghan in 1883. The recent conservation work at this City owned site represents one of the many phases needed to restore and maintain this heritage building.
The Haney descendants lived in the house until the property was donated to the City of Maple Ridge by the family in 1979, and remains as a museum representing middle class family life from the mid-Victorian era through to the early part of the 20th century, with a collection made of primarily Haney family artifacts.
The conservation work for the site involved improvements on the exterior of the house; specifically roof, windows and doors, and for the interior, a wallpaper investigation. During the course of the work pieces were uncovered that revealed even more stories.
Find #1: During the wallpaper investigation, red stained cedar roof shingles were found in the attic. Early photographs were only in black and white, so this detail went unnoticed, however, iron oxide red staining was quite common in the late 1800’s to prolong the life of a roof.
Find #2: The restoration of all the windows and exterior doors resulted in some interesting facts: no weight pockets nor sash pulley hardware are present in the existing double hung windows, and therefore heritage solid brass sash stays will be used to hold the lower windows open. Storm windows were added for protection and to preserve heat in winter, retaining cylinder glass (a type of hand blown window glass) where possible. Altogether restoration and/or manufacture occurred for 15 windows and 5 doors. The upstairs windows were modified by the family to be smaller and restoring these to original size involved more careful demolition of the wall.
Find #3: Patterns, patterns and paint. An investigation of the interior wallpaper and paint remnants helped to piece together the history of the house’s interiors, now over 135 years old. With the restoration in the early 1980’s, very little original material remained on the walls and ceilings to help shed light on what was on the interiors. However, breakthrough discoveries occurred including:
a) Original walls of Haney House were horizontal wooden boards, not lath and plaster. When investigating the master bedroom warming closet, it was discovered that muslin support was stretched over the boards to allow wallpaper to be applied.
b) With the lack of original material through cuts into the drywall, the discovery inside floor vents in the master bedroom led to accumulated debris from rodents including wallpaper pieces, and also popcorn! The pieces revealed a new pattern of paper.
c) With the changes to Haney House over time by the family and then later by the City of Maple Ridge to restore it, many layers were removed and replaced but without any real records. While there are still many mysteries in the house, more of the puzzle has been put together from the wallpaper investigation. The closets in the dining room and underneath the stairs yielded the most useful information as these areas were relatively unaltered. Large pieces of historic wallpaper from the late Victorian era, corroborated with the finding of additional wallpaper samples (hidden in a drawer of a piece of furniture in the collection) lead us to more answers, from research carried out at the conservation studio, through analysis of individual layers. A wallpaper display encapsulated in acid free material will help to tell this story as an interim measure, and be used as part of museum interpretation.
What’s the impact to our community?
The findings and conservation work will help to make Haney House more historically accurate and assist with interpretation efforts. It represents one step in many for Haney House Museum to be fully restored and utilized as a resource by residents, students and visitors to experience a unique site. Some lessons learned included retaining unidentified remnants and original materials, the importance of thorough investigation and research where possible and investigating further as structural elements of the property are restored, repaired or replaced. This historic house may give us more of its secrets over time!
The 2017-2018 conservation work was driven by the City with support from the Maple Ridge Community Heritage Commission and Maple Ridge Historical Society. In addition, this project was funded in part by the City of Maple Ridge, Province of BC through the BC Canada 150 program and Heritage BC through the Heritage Legacy Fund.
Watch this page for more updates, and photos of restoration work. Scroll below for more detailed pictures of restoration work.