The House Restoration Project encompasses a full restoration of 11 period rooms, Iselin Wing, Back Parlor Exhibit Gallery, and Summer Kitchen Discovery Center. We are addressing capital restoration needs, conservation of objects, and additions to the collection based upon our furnishing plan. In addition, we are in the process of re-focusing the interpretive story and highlighting the collections in a new way to help tell the story of John Jay, his life, legacy and accomplishments.
Much needed attention has been paid to the historic outbuildings and landscape of John Jay Homestead over the last few decades however the Main House has taken on a shabby appearance.
Although some restoration projects have occurred in the Bedford House (Ballroom restoration, 2008; new roof installation, 2006-09; Nancy Jay’s Bedroom restoration, 2008-10), large scale restoration has not taken place since the New York State Department of Education prepared the house for public opening in 1964, and most previous House Committee projects addressing interior décor were completed in the 1990s.
Given its stature as the main artifact, the house is deserving of our much-needed attention. Parenthetically, can we imagine our most important historic houses, like Mt. Vernon or Monticello, in a state of disrepair? Touring the homes of Washington and Jefferson is integral to the visitor experience and we suggest taking a similar view of our house’s potential.
Jay’s Bedford House not only contains a compelling collection of American and European antiques and decorative arts, but it is where Jay’s unique accomplishments and the important role he played in the founding of our nation come alive. Restoring his home perfectly embodies our call to action, “help keep the American story alive.”