Restoration in Action: The Robbins Hunter Museum

Written by: Fitale Wari

Residents of Granville might have noticed a beautiful addition to the Robbins Hunter Museum – the beautiful fence facing Broadway. 

“I think [the fence] is the finishing touch,” said Ann Lowder, Director at the Robbins Hunter Museum. 

The museum transformed the Jill Griesse Historic Garden project this past spring with the addition of a black powder-coated aluminum fence lining the property. Not only is this fence an elegant and unique addition to the museum grounds, but also it features a historic Greek key motif, which adds to the significance of the house. 

“It dresses up the museum and makes it look more finished,” Ann said. “What we’ve been trying to do in the last couple of years is to have the outside say what’s going on on the inside.” 

For Ann, the addition of the fence symbolizes the transformation she and her staff are undergoing – the museum wants the outside of the property to reflect the history and value on the inside. 

The community felt it was necessary to add a fence, considering the original property also had one. It also gives the museum the prominence it deserves, defines the entry space, and welcomes the public to the Jill Griesse Historic Garden, the Dale and Tina Nobel Pavilion, and the Avery-Downer House, all operated by the museum. 

After consulting with landscape architect, Laura Birchfield, as well as classical architect, Bill Hyer, the team created the up-to-date fence, which is now featured in all the tours. 

In fact, the museum’s transformation began in 2010 when it added rocking chairs on the front porch. Since then, it has repainted the building its historic grey, expanded the gardens, and added the large banners between the columns, which highlights its presence in the Granville community for the past 175 years. 

This fence would not have been possible had it not been for the support and donation by the Granville Community Foundation over two years. 

“The fence defines the garden,” Ann said. “It defines the house.” 

The Robbins Hunter Museum is committed to understanding the architecturally unique Avery-Downer House, its collections, and the people who lived there. It offers children’s programs, community events and tours, and private events. You can read more about how the garden is growing on the website

The Granville Community Foundation has funded multiple projects at the Robbins Hunter Museum including the Blue Ribbon Panel (guidelines for its interior restoration mission) in 1991, as well as the Victoria Woodhull Clock restoration in 2009, and the replacement of its porches in 2013.