Managing the upkeep of an over 200 year old building is a full time project, and controlling the environment within the Mansion was a particularly difficult endeavor with inadequate heating and cooling systems, as well as little to no ventilation. The Committee of 1926 began to see the house and their collection suffer in the fluctuating conditions of the Mansion. In an effort to preserve the Mansion’s legacy and collections, the Committee of 1926, in partnership with the City of Philadelphia, closed Historic Strawberry Mansion in 2009 to begin the first major restoration of the house since the 1930s. The four-year preservation project began in 2009 with exterior restorations, including the repair of all 72 windows, window sashes, hardware cleaning, conservation of antique weather stripping, stabilization of the main staircase, replacement of all roofing and internal roof beams, and exterior stucco repair with a restored historic color scheme. The second phase of the rehabilitation project began in 2012 and focused on the interior of the Mansion. Phase II included replacing the old 1930’s knob and tube wiring with an upgraded electrical system, interior plaster and paint repair, and the installation of a new geothermal climate control HVAC system to protect the collection from harsh environmental effects.
The restoration project was complete in early 2013, and the doors to the Mansion re-opened to the public for the first time in almost 5 years in May 2013. The Committee of 1926’s prized collection of antiques, fine art, and collectables has finally been restored to its proper place. In addition, a beautiful new mural will be added to the Banquet Room on the second floor. The mural, entitled The Portage Trail to Strawberry Mansion, is being painted by muralists Dot Bunn and Patrick Connors, with oil paint donated by Vasari Classic Artists’ Oil Colors. The mural will depict the story of Judge Joseph Hemphill who is attributed to building the Banquet Room wing of the house.