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Historic Deerfield gets $30,000 to restore Barnard Tavern

The Barnard Tavern in Historic Deerfield.
Recorder/Micky Bedell

The Barnard Tavern in Historic Deerfield. Recorder/Micky Bedell Purchase photo reprints »

OLD DEERFIELD — Historic Deerfield Inc. has been awarded a $30,000 grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council to complete the restoration of the Barnard Tavern museum building.

The colonial museum house has been closed for about six years while renovations and repairs are being performed, according to Historic Deerfield President Philip Zea. He said the grant will allow the organization to restore the building’s painted surfaces and repair parts of the frame, which are in various states of disrepair.

“After 200 years of wear and tear, the frame of the building is in rough shape. Some of the painted surfaces in the ballroom were marbleized to look like stone, and we’d like to recreate those,” Zea said. “We’ve been trying to do all this work on our annual operating budget but we can only put so much money into it per year, so getting this help is really important.”

The tavern was originally built in 1795 by Deerfield resident Erastus Barnard, who operated it as a public house until around 1805. In 1797, the tavern’s ballroom was the site of the founding of Deerfield Academy, according to Zea.

He said he hopes the grant will result in enough of the repairs being completed to reopen the building to the public.

“Historic Deerfield wants to interpret the public life of the time to our visitors, and we want to get the tavern refurnished and open to the public,” Zea said. “The money from the Massachusetts Cultural Council will be used to take this work to the next level.”

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