Franklin, MA Public Library Restoration
The Franklin Public Library is considered America’s first public library. In 1778, when the town was incorporated, the designated name Exeter was changed to Franklin in honor of Dr. Benjamin Franklin. In return Franklin was asked to donate a bell for the town’s church steeple. Acknowledging that “sense” was preferable to “sound”, Dr. Franklin responded with an offer of books for the use of the town’s residents. When the volumes arrived, a great controversy arose over who should be allowed to use them. On November 20th, 1790, those attending Franklin’s town meeting voted to lend the books to all Franklin inhabitants free of charge. This vote established the Franklin collection as the first public library in the United States. The original Franklin collection is still housed in a book case in the circulation department. In 1904, the Ray Memorial Building was dedicated and the Franklin Library got a permanent building – a gift from the Ray family. That same year, the Ray family also established the Ray Memorial fund to provide for and maintain the building. The Franklin Library Association ran the library until 1981 when the Franklin Public Library became a department of the town of Franklin. From 1987 to 1989, the Library underwent extensive restoration to maintain the original beauty and splendor of this beautiful classical Greek structure and to add a children’s wing.
In 2017 Buccacio Sculpture Services completed restoration to the Franklin Library utalizing old world restoration techniques of the 17th-Century Masters. Sandblasting and various stages of chemicals were applied to repatina both front and back bronze doors to the library. The proper way to restore bronze is time consuming and strenuous work but the only process Buccacio Sculpture uses to achieve the original bronze look of any bronze restoration. The 7’/9′ entrance plaque was sanded thoroughly, cracks were filled with plaster and then sanded to receive a coat of shellac and fresh paint. Gold tinted wax was applied and buffed to create the look of bronze. In the entrance to the library, 3000ft of scagliola was and black granite were also restored using old-world restoration techniques. The scagliola was first cleaned and prepped creating v-channels. After prepping the v-channels for new scagliola application, epoxy with 3/16 threaded steal rod is inserted into the cracks at various intervals to reinforce the surface of the scagliola. Lacquer is then applied to seal area for repair. New scagliola is then mixed, using old world techniques, and applied to the v-channels. Once drying time is completed the area is wet sanded with various sandpaper up to 1200 grit. Special oils are applied to seal the new scagliola before waxes are applied and buffed to a new polished look to 17th century old scagliola. The 9ft/13ft tall entrance way adorned with scagliola was also restored along with 2 8ft/12ft entry ways and 8 18ft. architectural pillars. Buccacio Sculpture is well equipt for the impressively difficult restoration work. Last we polished 1500 sq. ft. of black granite and installed new bronze railing and bronze vents to various areas of the library.
New England Foundry, Buccacio Sculpture Services is truely proud to be given the opportunity to utalize our craftmanship in the restoration of the Franklin Public Library, for the community to enjoy for years to come.