The MHRC is rejoicing this week at receiving the "all clear" from Phase 5A contractors who have been performing asbestos abatement over the summer. The removal of massive amounts of ACM (Asbestos Containing Materials) from the Martin House is complete, and the air and surfaces of the interior thoroughly cleaned. We are all too happy to bid farewell to this potentially hazardous material (PHM, perhaps?).
This is great news for the Martin House staff as well as for our visitors. We've cleared a major, messy hurdle in pursuing the complete, interior restoration of the house, and it also means that we may regain access (albeit limited) to the house - a pathway from the front door through the entry hall to the pergola - in the near future. For the public, this means the return of a semblance of our "traditional" tour route, but also an opportunity to see other interior restoration in progress.
As a curator, it's always difficult to have one's collection (in this case a building) so compromised and inaccessible. This first segment of Phase 5A has obfuscated various research and interpretation efforts at the Martin House; but in the long view, it has paved the way for the full experience of Wright's richly detailed interior to take shape once again. The rewards will be well worth enduring this temporary "siege" on the house.