The Merrill House has been a lonely lady for the past year, but definitely not forgotten! After sitting quietly during the global pandemic, she is now waking up and getting the full beauty treatment in order to prepare for visitors again.
Recent operational surveys revealed problems with some areas of the exterior siding. As stewards of the Merrill House, the Jacksonville Historical Society is responsible for her daily upkeep and care. The City of Jacksonville maintains the structural components, which includes the siding, roof, and HVAC systems. COJ employed the team at DN Concrete & Construction Services to make the necessary repairs to the siding, and after only three days, contractors completed the application of nearly 200 feet of new, historically approved materials.
Docents and staff also scheduled a workday to tidy and clean the interior. Cobwebs aside, the house is in “showing” condition again. Training is being planned for new docents and an update of the narrative is being prepared to address new aspects of the history of the Merrill House. Several new items have also been added, such as period chair to Mr. Merrill’s study that once belonged to Harriett Beecher Stowe! Once this is complete, the doors will open. A target date of early August is expected, if not sooner.
Reminder that tours will still be by appointment and reservations will be required. A nominal fee will be added to assist in the operating costs, but as always, members are free! Tours are limited to 20 people, with certain exceptions. The possibility of adding a general public day to the museum’s operating schedule is also being considered.
Please continue to check the website for updates or call the office with questions. If interested in becoming a docent, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to the list for upcoming training.
The JHS’s focus on the care of the Merrill House is an important function of its overall mission and we continue to monitor and maintain all aspects of the historic home. We hope to see you at the house soon!
Carol Bolton, Operations Coordinator