Tinker Swiss Cottage receives facelift
Over the next two to three months, Tinker Swiss Cottage, the home of former Rockford Mayor Robert H. Tinker (1836-1924), will be receiving a large-scale facelift. In recent years, the decorative plaster ceilings and walls in the 1865 home have succumbed to dirt and discoloration from years of coal-burning heat and pollution from the adjacent railroad yards. Rewiring done 50 years ago also resulted in damage to a joist, causing the second floor to weigh heavily upon the first floor ceilings. Although the problem with the joist has been remedied, there remain a number of cracks throughout the ceilings of the formal parlor and dining room.
To solve these problems, museum officials have hired Evergreene Painting Studios to repair, repaint and clean the historic plasterwork. Evergreene, a conservation group out of Chicago, had previously worked in Rockford as part of the Coronado Theatre restoration project. Four of their conservators will tackle the Cottage project over the next three months.
Among the tasks at hand will be the consolidation of existing plaster, patching cracks and holes with similar materials. To help insure a good bond between old and new materials, syringes will inject adhesives into the areas to be patched. Areas obscured by years of dirt or varnish will be cleaned, and areas repainted over the years will be returned to their original paint colors. All of this will help return the Cottage to its appearance in its heyday of the early 1900s.
The Museum will remain open to the public throughout the restoration project. Visitors are encouraged to observe the restoration work while on their tour. The project is being funded in part by a $20,000 grant from the Illinois Public Museum Capital Grant Program through the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.