Guy Gannett House & First Amendment Museum Feasibility Study

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The Gannett House Project: A First Amendment Experience | Augusta, ME

2 gannett, blaine, capitol_0Significance
Guy P. Gannett was perhaps the most significant publisher in the history of the Maine press and established a communications empire unique in Maine. The Gannett House is one of a trio of significant properties representing key aspects of governance–the Capitol (home to the citizens’ Legislature), the Blaine House (home to Maine’s Chief Executive), and next door the Guy P. Gannett House (home to one of Maine’s most influential journalists and business leaders). Its generous setback from the street deferentially frames the most popular approach to the Capitol from downtown Augusta, and it noticeably defines the edge of the Capitol Complex National Register Historic District. The House was among the earliest examples in the state of the fledgling 'Mediterranean Revival' style, and the style’s only significant dwelling in Kennebec County. As a grand residence, the house was designed, finished and furnished to be gracious and well appointed, featuring tall ceilings, generous rooms, abundant circulation and crafted details.

Approach
The overall approach is to pursue two concurrent overlapping efforts–Restoring the Architectural Integrity of the Gannett House and Repurposing the Gannett House as a Museum. Restoring the Architectural Integrity of the Gannett House focuses on the building as a shell - its current physical conditions,  repairing deterioration caused by deferred maintenance, stabilizing its conditions to arrest deterioration, and preparing it for the future. Repurposing the Gannett House as a Museum focuses on the building as a museum. In this project form (the physical story) and function (the interpretive story) are intrinsically complementary, which makes so special the promise of The Gannett House Project. To address this opportunity head on, and to access the magic that results from a good marriage of form and function, the project is co-led by Denis Lachman and Jay Paulus. Jay and Denis are both planners and hands-on professionals, respectively in Interpretive Planning and Exhibits, and Architectural Restoration and Repurposing.