March 2, 2024

Noted Decorative Arts Consultant Chosen for Belmont Master Plan

F. Carey Howlett

Nationally respected conservator F. Carey Howlett will work with Gari Melchers Home and Studio to develop a comprehensive master plan for the house’s first-story exhibition spaces.

Starting in January 2023, F. Carey Howlett & Associates, specialists in the conservation of historic furniture and interiors, will be working with Gari Melchers Home and Studio to develop a comprehensive master plan for the house’s first story exhibition spaces. The main objective is twofold: to enhance interpretive goals for the primary living spaces of Gari and Corinne Melchers and ensure the long-term care and preservation of these spaces and the collections within them.

F. Carey Howlett is one of the country’s most respected conservators and has worked with numerous museums and private collections over his 40+ year career. His past clients include the Chrysler Museum of Art; the Flagler Museum; Historic Annapolis; Gunston Hall; Stratford Hall; and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Mr. Howlett also served as principal conservator for John Milner Associates and director of conservation for the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. He is experienced as a conservator of historic furniture and architectural interiors and as a researcher, consultant, project manager and museum administrator. His special strengths include innovative conservation treatment techniques; broad knowledge of historic periods, styles, and fabrication techniques; a full range of woodworking skills; research skills; expertise in microscopy (coatings analysis and wood identification); and extensive speaking and publishing experience.

The development of Belmont’s master plan will require an initial study of the current interpretation of the spaces and a compilation of all physical, archival, documentary and photographic evidence of these spaces while the Melchers were in residence. Preliminary work will also require a study of all factors affecting the preservation of both the architecture and the collections objects in these spaces, including environmental concerns, visitor access and housekeeping. Information collected in this study will be compiled as a written report with photographic documentation. This compilation will serve as the basis for the accompanying Master Plan for Interpretation and Preservation of the First Story Exhibition Spaces at Belmont, including a prioritized schedule for projects necessary to realize these goals. The plan will also contain a tentative budget for this work.

Development of the master plan is generously supported by the Margaret Walker Purinton Foundation of Charlottesville, Virginia.