Looking Back: The McFaddin-Ward House Museum’s First Restoration Project
Beaumont, TX; Oct. 27, 2023 – Toward the end of her life, Mamie McFaddin Ward began taking steps to ensure her beloved family home and its contents would be preserved and protected for the enjoyment of future generations. In 1978, she created the Mamie McFaddin Ward Heritage Foundation to ensure her vision of converting the house, grounds, and carriage house into a museum would become a reality.
Upon Mamie’s passing in 1982, restoration work on the McFaddin-Ward House Museum began. While Mamie had been meticulous in the upkeep of her home, she could not prevent the wear caused by climate and time, and as a result, minor structural repairs were necessary, as well as object conservation, textile replication, and the installation of climate control and security systems.
Repairs to the building itself were minimal. Any damaged wooden areas including railings, column capitals, and sections of the front porch were repaired, and fresh coats of paint were applied to all painted areas. Seamed copper gutters were installed around the porch areas on the second and third stories, and repairs were made to porch flooring. Chimneys were rebuilt and restored.
Careful attention was given to interior wall surfaces. Paint analyses revealed proper paint colors for walls, ceilings, and moldings, and wallpapered rooms were restored with papers matching the originals. Special cleaning methods were required for the Pink Parlor and the Breakfast Rooms’ hand-painted canvas walls and ceilings, ultimately requiring a combined total of 3,000 man-hours for a group of 21 conservators, technicians, and volunteers to clean all 168 square yards of painted canvas in these rooms.
For the museum’s textiles, experts in accurate reproduction of historical fabrics at companies such as Scalamandre and Brunschwig & Fils provided fabrics and fringes duplicating the originals, and skilled local craftsmen produced the elaborate stitching, colored leatherwork, and quilting.
After three busy years of careful, exacting work, the McFaddin-Ward House opened to the public as an educational resource and iconic historical landmark on March 15, 1986, fulfilling Mamie’s dream.