Our Recent Refurbishment and Remodel

A Generous Donation Sparks Transformation at Hoover-Minthorn House Museum

In 2022 the Hoover-Minthorn House Museum received a surprise, generous donation from a long-time member that enabled us to look at our small historic house museum with fresh eyes. We faced decisions about what we could change to upgrade our facilities and enhance our visitor experience. After considering many possible uses for the much-needed funding, we decided to completely refurbish the museum’s interior space.

Addressing Structural Challenges in a Historic House

The building where the museum resides is the oldest standing house in Newberg – and with that comes many condition issues and challenges! The house is structurally sound with a relatively new roof, and it was secured to its foundation after the Scott Mills earthquake in 1993. However, the interior was suffering from years (decades) of deferred maintenance. The evidence of this deferred maintenance was peeling wallpaper with water stains, cracked walls, and cracked and water-stained ceilings. The painted floorboards suffered from peeling and chipping. The wallpaper, throughout the house, was not period to our era of significance which aligns with Hoover’s childhood years at the house from 1885 – 1888. There was a lot to do!

Wall during renovation in the Hoover-Minthorn House Museum
Windows readied for painting

Extensive Refurbishment: Bringing New Life to Historic Interiors

From January – May 2024 we closed the museum and moved everything out of the space and placed it in storage. Our painting contractor stabilized the peeling wallpaper, applied plaster and a skim coat as needed, sanded the surfaces, and applied an oil-based primer over the remaining wallpaper. The ceilings, floors, and trim were all repaired and painted as well. Some of the ceilings needed to be rehung. Finally, a fresh coat of neutral interior paint was applied which now brightens our interior space.

Achieving Authenticity: Inspired by 19th-Century Quaker Design

We have no evidence as to what the interior looked like while Dr. Minthorn’s family and Herbert Hoover lived in the house, but our goal was to have a neutral color scheme in keeping with 19th-century Quaker interiors in pioneer and rural Oregon. We looked to available interior photographs of 19th-century Quaker Meeting Houses on the West Coast for inspiration.

During this time we were also able to make some key acquisitions for our collection. As we were removing everything from the museum, we realized that our quilts on each of the beds were faded, torn, and fraying. We knew that their condition issues would be more visible by comparison once the interior space was finished. We were able to locate and purchase three new 19th-century quilts – two for the daughters’ bedroom and one for Herbert Hoover’s bedroom. By serendipity, we found another quilt, already in our collection, for Dr. and Mrs. Minthorn’s bedroom.

Additionally, we purchased a World War I flour sack with a Belgium import stamp from Herbert Hoover’s relief efforts during the Great War. The flour sack is perfect for our museum as the sack was made in Portland, the flour was grown and milled in Idaho, and it has a majestic elk decorating the bag’s front. The flour relief effort was national, and we are happy to have such a good example from the American West.

Funding and Gratitude: Making Our Vision a Reality

For the project, to maximize the gift from our angel donor, we applied for and received grants from the Helen E. Austin Pioneer Fund of the Oregon Community Foundation and the Museum Alliance Committee of the Great American Treasures Program. We heartily thank everyone who generously contributed to make our interior refurbishment a huge success!

Before and After Photos from the Renovation

Hoover-Minthorn House Museum Parlor before its renovation

Hoover-Minthorn House Museum Parlor before its renovation.

Hoover-Minthorn House Museum Parlor after its renovation

Hoover-Minthorn House Museum Parlor after its renovation.

Hoover-Minthorn House Museum Dining Room before its renovation

Hoover-Minthorn House Museum Dining Room before its renovation.

Hoover-Minthorn House Museum Dining Room after its renovation

Hoover-Minthorn House Museum Dining Room after its renovation.

Other Photos from the Renovation

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