Historic Furnishing Reports
Historic Furnishing Reports document furnishings, their placement,
the historic uses of each space, structural modifications, technological
changes, and decorative treatments.
The evolution of the interior spaces chronicles changes in
materials, plans, built-in elements, openings, and uses.
Furnishings addressed include decorative ornament in wood,
plaster, masonry and other materials; lighting, plumbing and
heating fixtures; other utilities and technologies; decorative
treatments including wallpaper, finishes, floor treatment, and
window dressing; furniture; wall hangings and paintings; accessories
Objects indicated in inventories, diaries, photographs, and
other records, but that no longer exist on site, are recorded
to document historic conditions and, at times, to develop a
list of objects for future, proposed Historic Furnishing Plans.
National Park Service
Historic Furnishings Report in NPS Policy #28: Cultural
Resource Management Guideline, Chapter 9: Management
of Museum Objects, C. Planning, 2. Collection Management
A historic furnishings report (HFR) provides a history
of a structure's use and documents the type and placement
of furnishings to a period of interpretive significance.
If a decision is made to furnish a historic structure, a
detailed plan section lists each recommended item. The HFR
provides guidance for the care and maintenance of furnishings
that are exhibited in the structure, including specific
instructions for the care of newly acquired objects. This
information can be incorporated by the park in its preventive
conservation program. The HFR also recommends appropriate
levels of historic housekeeping for interpretation. (The
NPS Museum Handbook, Part III [draft in progress] provides
guidance on the HFR.)
Historic Furnishings in NPS Policy #28: Cultural
Resource Management Guideline, Chapter 9: Management
of Museum Objects, D. Stewardship, 5.
Historic furnishings are groups of objects (such as furniture,
paintings, other decorative and utilitarian objects, books,
wall and floor coverings) assembled according to a documented
report that recreate historic interior spaces. In some cases
one furnished room may be more evocative of an event or
person than an entire furnished structure. In other cases
effective interpretation may require the furnishing of multiple
structures, both commercial and residential. In every case,
furnishing must be as accurate as possible and must directly
serve park interpretive objectives. The following general
(a) Original furnishings present in their original arrangement
will not be moved or replaced unless required for their
protection or preservation, or unless the structure is designated
for another use in an approved park plan. Before movement
or replacement, the furnishings and their arrangement must
be fully documented.
(b) A structure may be refurnished, in whole or part, if
it is significantly related to a primary park theme, if
refurnishing is determined to be the best way to interpret
that theme to the public, and if there is sufficient evidence
of the design and placement of the original furnishings
to refurnish with minimal conjecture.
(c) To ensure accurate recreations of historic furnishings,
reproductions will be based on existing prototypes.
Furnished Historic Structure Museums,
Chapter 6 [PDF file] in Lewis, Ralph H. Museum
Curatorship in the National Park Service 1904-1982. Washington,
DC: Curatorial Services Division, National Park Service, Department
of the Interior, 1993 .
The Mission 66 development program field order issued February
4, 1958, restated the rule that exhibition of the interior
of a historic structure required an approved furnishing plan,
then specified six elements the plan must contain:
"The first section (a) centered attention on the interpretive
purpose,essential to justify development. The next section
(b) defined the facts and ideas the furnished space would
embody in a documented narrative of the historic occupants.
All the evidence that could be found about furnishings present
at the historic time composed the third section (c). With
foundation laid, the plan would proceed to specify in detail
the furnishings to be exhibited (d). The fifth section (e)
would supplement these specifications with floor plans and
wall elevations to fix the location of each piece. Notes
on sources and estimated costs for acquiring the furnishings
(f) would complete the plan."
- Guidelines for Preparing Historic Furnishings Reports, Harpers Ferry Center, NPS read
- Planning a Historic Furnishings Report, Kelso Depot, Mojave National Preserve, Barstow, California read
- Implementing a Historic Furnishings Report, Mascot Saloon, Mascot Saloon at Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Site in Skagway, Alaska read
- Hunter House Furnishings Plan, draft, August 2011 provided, read
- NPS examples (to peruse)
- Kelso Depot: A Furnishings History and Recommended Plan, Mojave National Preserve, Barstow, California
- Historic Furnishings Report, Strentzel-Muir House, John Muir National Historic Site Martinez, California
- Historic Furnishings Report, The William Johnson House, Natchez National Historical Park, Natchez, Mississippi
- Historic Furnishings Report, Fort Cronkhite: Barracks (Building 1059) and Mess Hall (Building 1049), Golden Gate National Recreation Area San Francisco, California
- Historic Furnishings Report, The Fort Smith Courtroom, Fort Smith National Historic Site Fort Smith, Arkansas
- Historic Furnishings Report, Print Shop, Hoover Block, Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park, Dayton, Ohio