The Historic Preservation program at SAIC uses Chicago as a laboratory, and nearly all department projects involve Chicago or Chicago-area buildings and sites, often resulting in community-based projects that connect and serve the public.
The Forum served the Bronzeville community with a variety of functions focused on both the arts as well as other cultural and social institutions throughout its history. After standing vacant for almost four decades, the building was purchased with the goal of restoration.
A Building Diagnostics class from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s M.S. Historic Preservation Program was tasked in Fall 2010 with documenting conditions and proposing recommendations for the restoration of the facility’s exterior windows.
The students extracted samples from three exterior sides of the house while carefully documenting the location of the removed paint. Students then performed a microscopic analysis of the layers of paint from the exterior trim, bargeboard, and clapboard siding.
The objective of the project was to determine the historic paint colors and wallpapers of the extant first floor of the office, hall, parlor, and dining Room on the Frances Willard House in Evanston, Illinois, and to select paint colors and coatings for future restoration purposes that are appropriate to the period of significance - 1890.