Project: 1837 Peter Jewett
Client: Granville Historical Society

About The Project
This instrument, the only survivor of three built by physician Peter Jewett in western Massacusettes in the early 19th century, presented some significantly challenging decisions.  It served the church for many decades with only minor repairs before being replaced with an Estey reed organ in the 1890's.  It was neglected from that time on, and some of thepipework was badly damaged, but it was otherwise unchanged -- original 1837 leather, original 1837 glue, original 1837 pencil marks and scribe lines. 

Any instrument this old would be historically valuable, but to be all original and in its original home makes this instrument nearly unique, even though the building is now a museum rather than a church. 

Herein lies the conundrum:  To leave the instrument as it is,  is to leave the instrument's musical voice silent.  To restore the instrument's musical voice would obliterate much of the originality of it and greatly diminish, if not silence, the instrument's historical voice. 

In the end, the museum chose to conserve the instrument in its unrestored state since the historical voice is more important to the museum, and the musical opportunities would be minimal in this setting.  Reinforcing that decision ws the realization that if and when there was sufficient support for hearing the musical voice of the instrument, it would be far less invasive as well as far less expensive, to create a faithful reproduction of the instruments chasis and mechanical parts, leaving the originals untouched.  The surviving pipes could be easily installed on the new chasis with replacements made for the missing or severely damaged pipes.