The U.S. Department of the Interior states that the preservation of buildings is “the process of applying measures necessary to sustain the existing form, integrity and materials of an historic property.” Using minimally invasive approaches, we are taking measures to protect, stabilize, maintain, and repair the Olson House, designated a National Historic Landmark in 2011. 

Presevation Milestones:

1992   Condition assessment

1993   Windows condition survey

1994   Shed and kitchen roof shingles replacement

1997   Conditions survey report

1999   Stone foundation repairs

2007   Window repairs

2010   Interior environmental assessment

2012   Chimney flashing and caps

2015   Fire supression system project

            Exterior clapboards repair and replacements

2019   New shingled roof

2021 HSR initiated and completed


Windows exterior: Paint testing

Clapboards: Testing for exterior finish

Central chimney shoring and repair

Upgrades to fire supression system

Historic Structures Report

In 2020, the National Park Service and the Department of the Interior awarded the museum a Save America’s Treasures Grant. Along with support provided by the museum, the grant funded the first-ever Historic Structures Report (HSR) to be conducted for the Olson House. This report identifies a prioritized sequence of preservation projects for the site and offers a vision for its future. 

A team of consultants completed the HSR between April and December 2021. Consultants included:

  • Historic Building Architects, LLC (Preservation Architects, Conservators & Team Leader)
  • Robert Silman Associates, PC (Structural Engineers)
  • Landmark Facilities Group Inc. (Mechanical, Electirical, and Plumbing Engineers)
  • Past Design (Historian & Historic Landscape Consultant)
  • Atksinson-Noland & Associates (Non-Destructive Evaluation)
  • Anthony & Associates (Wood Scientist)
  • Richard Veit Archeologist, LLC (Dendrochronologist)
  • CHA Consulting (Cost Estimators)

Preservation Guidelines: 

  • Preserve the renovation from the 1970s. 
  • Respect and interpret the changes to the Olson House based on the research and documentation developed as part of the HSR. 
  • Treat the landmark as an important part of the Farnsworth’s collection. 
  • Preserve the house without excessive restoration, allowing evidence of its weathering over time to remain and balancing this aesthetic with the need to conserve this historic building.
  • The Farnsworth’s Board of Trustees, Building and Grounds Committee, and Staff continue to engage in the planning for future preservation efforts.