Befores and Afters at the GBHS Museum & Farmstead

with No Comments

Everyone loves before and after photos, especially if the after is very different–and much better–than the before! Now the GB Historical Society has some amazing ones for you to enjoy.

First, let’s look at the Museum’s interior. The makeover to the existing bathroom included installing a new toilet, lav sink, and utility sink. The walls were re-plastered and painted, and a half bead board wall was installed to hide the new plumbing. A new floor was put in and new curtains added the finishing touch.

Thanks to the Town’s CPA grant, we were able to convert the former kitchen area into a handicap-accessible bathroom that meets ADA requirements. In the new bathroom, walls, ceiling, door, and plasterboard were installed along with new flooring. The walls and ceiling were then plastered and painted and ADA-approved fixtures were then installed.

Because the new handicap-accessible bathroom was created in the old working kitchen area, new kitchen cabinets and sink were installed on the renovated east wall of the summer kitchen. The wall was taken down to the original 1700’s lath work and re-plastered and painted.

The outside work began with the transformation of the entryway featuring a handicap-accessible ramp with beautiful easy-to-grip iron handrail and wooden deck for wheelchair access.

Then we installed our colonial kitchen garden next to the porch and extending to the handicap parking area. New England colonists built fenced-in, narrow, rectangular “doorstep” gardens just outside their homes. They used raised beds to warm up the soil faster in the short New England growing season.

Our garden was a labor of love and a wonderful addition to the Museum entrance. It was a gift from the Great Barrington Garden Club, and much of the labor for the white picket fence was donated by local contractor Brian Hyatt of Sheffield.


To finish the handicap walkway area and also to create an attractive entry into the Dutch Wagon House addition, our contractor Scott Morrison has been busy laying the stonework on both entryways. To honor the production days of the Sheffield Marble Quarry, he installed a marble stepping stone and retaining wall. He also created a wonderful stone walkway that will finally keep the dirt out of the Museum work area!

After painting the farmhouse last year, along with the many compliments we received, some others commented on how bad our 1700’s barn looked by comparison. Our archivist Gary Leveille took up the challenge and volunteered to do something about it. A major reconstruction of the barn was out of the question, but Gary proceeded to make some structural repairs to save the barn from further deterioration. Local painter Derrick King has been working to give the building a good coat of barn red, and Scott will be replacing the sliding barn door. Goes to show what one volunteer can do!

Leave a Reply