Someone in every historic town needs to be appointed as local guardian, or at least to head of committee of like-minded souls. Usually these are people who go back for generations in the town and have ancestors that help establish now historic spots like the Gardner Museum of Architecture. It is one of our landmarks and I have taken it upon myself to keep my eye on its impending deterioration. I will then have to take charge of restoration, and most important of all, fundraising for the project. Local funds are in short supply so it will need some supplemental resources not to mention some construction volunteers. I am looking forward to heading up the project. It will be one among many given the age of many buildings in our town. This is going to be a life-long enterprise for me and many other citizens who care as much as I do about preserving the original character of our town.
Recently, we had a bad storm and as soon as it abated, I wanted to take a look at the Gardner Museum to see if there was any severe damage. I wanted to do a thorough inspection of the roof and attic so I took along my super-bright LED flashlight as a companion. Its illumination would make sure I didn’t miss anything critical and there were a number of impressive leaks in the roof. I shone the light closely so I could assess the problem and make notes about needed repairs. I would have to find the right person to do the job so it would last through the next winter onslaught. I wasn’t capable of doing the job so it was a permanent fix. At best, I could do some patching and painting. I let the word out and got some responses from a few roof repair companies. Of course, I chose the one that volunteered to do the job for no fee as it was an historic building. This is ideal when you are short of funds. Other buildings had damage that had to be addressed immediately.
After the work was proceeding nicely, I let the local press know of the generosity of the company. They printed a nice article about the building and the on-going restoration. The highlight of the article addressed more attention to historic sites and their care. It was a kind of local appeal and it worked as my group received a number of calls from volunteers and donors who wanted to rally to the cause. They were impressed by the roofing company stepping up to the plate and felt that they, too, could do something on their own, however small. I got donations of building materials and many commitments from handymen and construction workers to join in any designated project. The more the merrier and in this case, we had a jolly bunch, thanks to the newspaper publicity. I no longer worry quite so much about my town.