Two weekends ago, I made the trip up to Manchester, NH to attend the New Hampshire Preservation Alliance’s Old House & Barn Exposition. It was packed!
What struck me is how the main focus of the show was not toward a bunch of preservation experts restoring some old historic landmark or old house museum. It was aimed squarely toward homeowners who had a house that was more than fifty years old. I went to the big national Historic Home Show in Boston a few years ago and it was aimed at ‘wealthy’ homeowners or for professionals who would be trying to restore an old house for a customer.
This show on the other hand had a big bull’s-eye on my chest: the poor slob who has to maintain his old house! (And doesn’t have a well-endowed Swiss bank account)
This is the kind of show that the Preservation Trust could hold right in Newburyport and I assure you the region would come flocking to attend. Hundreds of other communities have struggling property owners trying to figure out how to maintain and preserve and keep up old houses and yet still enjoy 21st century living. And all of us, even experts here in town, are left all too often to suffer a trial and error process to get it done right. And on the other end, we have within fifty miles of here, hundreds of skilled craftsmen who could, in one place, show us how and be available as a resource – if we only knew they were around!
With my limited resources, I’ve tried to show a listing in my Newburyport Preservation Craftsmen Directory or provide home improvement techniques; but there is nothing like talking to these people in person.
All the Trust would need is a place like the City Hall Auditorium or the Elks Hall, some musicians playing for mood, craftsmen showing demonstrations, an admissions desk and a few side rooms for special lectures. Promoting it would be easy. And getting corporate sponsors would be a piece of cake.
Who would attend?
We aught to have something like this in our City. I challenge the Newburyport Preservation Trust to hold one!
PS. I personally had a four-square foot hole fall out of a plaster wall. The patch material I bought at Lunt & Kelly’s just wouldn’t take and finally after much fussing, I got it to stick. So to my delight, they had a plasterer who was doing a demonstration. Turns out that newer plaster is of a different composition and won’t stick to the older lime-based material. All I could picture is some expensive remedy. Turns out there is a special low-cost spray that when applied bridges between the old and new plasters making it easy to keep on using readily available (and less-expensive) patching material. Now that’s a solution! And I would never have known it unless I had attended this Expo!