The hurricane season of 2017 has already seen us watch Harvey from afar, weather Irma up close and keep an eye on Maria; we’ve gotten hurricane preparedness down to a science.
While time, nature and humanity have shaped Drayton Hall, we take efforts to preserve it in the manner we received it. Thankfully, pre-Irma we had plenty of time to execute our internal plan for preparing and closing our offices and the treasure that is Drayton Hall.
Phase 1 you might be familiar with – it’s our social media and website update to the public. After that, we begin to close our offices and take precautions regarding equipment. Inside and around the house, our preservation staff works to close openings like hatches, windows and doors, and cover floors in plastic to prevent damage to the floor and the precious plaster ceilings underneath. We also cover and brace the fireboxes to protect them from damage.
All said and done, we can complete our major tasks within a few hours.
As you can imagine, when we return to the site after severe weather, we assess the entire property for damage. One thing you probably don’t do at your own home is check root systems for artifacts. But here at Drayton Hall, we’ve been known to find all sorts of things in places we weren’t expecting.
Last week Sarah Stroud Clarke, our archaeologist, spent re-opening day checking out the soil around disturbed and upended trees. A few years ago a tree fell where we hadn’t previously found artifacts, but lo and behold, Sarah found early 18th century artifacts, after sifting through tree roots by hand.
While Irma felled three trees around the property, none were close to the house or public areas and none of the fallen trees offered up artifacts this time around, either.
While we’ve always got our eyes on the forecast, we’re open and ready to welcome you again. Come and see how Drayton Hall continues to weather history.