Roof Restoration Project

In 2021, Slater Memorial Museum is 135 years old. Dedicated in 1886, the building still retains an enormous amount of original architectural features and details as designed by its architect, Stephen C. Earle. The building is considered to be Earle’s career masterpiece, a monumental expression of the Romanesque Revival style that rose prominently in the late 19th century. Originally, the museum was designed to serve multiple purposes as an “athenaeum” building which was responsible for uplifting a person’s mind, body, and spirit. The auditorium served, and still serves, as the space where a person’s spirit is uplifted with music and live performances, the mind of students would be uplifted in the library which used to exist in the museum, now the present-day Sears’ Gallery. A student’s body would be uplifted through physical exercise and conditioning in the main galleries which almost became a gymnasium; these rooms now house the renowned Plaster Cast Collection.

There is much one could learn about the building, not the least of which is the fact that the original slates on the roof were sourced originally from Monson, Maine. The quarry shut down in the 1930s, but the replacement slate shingles will closely mirror their predecessors. The whole project will be more extensive than just replacing the slates, it will be a comprehensive restoration of the roofing system, some parts of which have largely deteriorated over 135 years. The work performed will be extensive and requires a large-scale preservation effort to protect the museum’s collections on the inside. Many artifacts and works of art will be temporarily relocated during this time. Throughout the project, the museum staff will continue to work behind the scenes to make existing spaces even better for the museum’s ultimate reopening upon the project’s completion.

Project Updates