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Let There Be Light

 

The wavy character of antique glass is a result of its manufacturing process. Each pane of glass was hand blown into a cylinder, cut and unrolled, cooled, and re-heated in a furnace against a flat, polished surface to improve clarity.
The wavy character of antique glass is a result of its manufacturing process. Each pane of glass was hand-blown into a cylinder, cut and unrolled, cooled, and re-heated in a furnace against a flat, polished surface to improve clarity.

The Pavilion restoration crossed a significant milestone over the last few weeks: the reinstallation of the hyphen windows. Up until this point, most of the restoration took place behind the façade: repairing foundations, raising floor and ceiling beams back into place, repairing walls, upgrading utilities, and refinishing rooms. The Pavilion, overlooking Lake Champlain, will have dedicated exhibition spaces, offices, meeting rooms, a catering kitchen, café, and modern amenities for guests and staff. By removing the plywood and replacing the windowpanes, the building has begun to resemble its old structure while giving us a glimpse of the transformations taking place within.

What a difference a few months makes! With the windows replaced and the siding repaired and repainted, the Pavilion exterior undergoes an impressive transformation.
What a difference a few months makes! With the windows replaced and the siding repaired and repainted, the Pavilion exterior undergoes an impressive transformation.

Repairing these windows is no small task. Each of the 13 large windows have 36 individual panes—468 pieces of glass in total. The glass is also antique, most panes dating back to the construction of the hyphens in the 1830s and re-glazed with asbestos during the first restoration of the building by museum co-founders Stephen and Sarah Pell in 1908. When the building asbestos abatement began last spring, two things quickly became apparent: the glass needed to be removed for abatement and the panes themselves were not interchangeable because each pane was cut to size by hand, resulting in minute differences. Due to the stress placed on the glass as the building settled over the last century, some panes broke when they were removed, but the team was able to successfully remove, store, and reinstall most of the glass. Next time you visit the site, take a distanced look at the Pavilion’s ongoing transformation!