Marblehead Museum undertaking an $800,000 preservation interpretation project

Marblehead Museum is currently under construction with a multiyear preservation interpretation project for their new property, an extension of the Jeremiah Lee Mansion that is estimated to conclude toward the end of 2025.

The Jeremiah Lee Mansion extension property includes the brick kitchen and slave quarters of the mansion, which was built in 1768. It was bought by the Marblehead Museum in 2021 with the aim to preserve its history.

According to Lauren McCormack, executive director of the Marblehead Museum, the preservation project will take over $800,000 in funding.

As of now, the Museum counts on a $100,000 grant from the Lynch Foundation and a $150,000 matching grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council. To help meet the goal, applications have been sent to other grants and a 2023 fundraising campaign is underway.

To fix the immediate threats to the stability of the building, masons are currently working on installing the window lintels to support the weight of the building, then adding the historic brick back to preserve the history of the property.

“They were inadequately supported before. Which is why there were cracks in the walls,” said McCormack.

Next year, construction will proceed with a new roof — securing beams and joists that are currently unsecured — as well as working on exhibits and programming to help share the history of the building.

“The new construction will be working to tell the story of the people who lived and worked in that building over the 250-plus years before it was purchased,” explained McCormack.

After the Lee family left the building, it was owned by a bank, which rented the property for a store and meeting hall. Later on, the property was purchased by the Litchman family, who used the first floor as a store known as Litchman’s and Orne Printing. The second floor was an apartment.

To restore the property to its original state as built by Jeremiah Lee, the museum hired an architectural historian, a historic paint analyst, and a dendrochronologist to study the building.

The goal is to recreate the first floor, with the kitchen and slave quarters adding a rotating exhibit space focused on various topics.