Project Description

The Seward House Museum's Barn and Carriage House Rehabilitation will look to remedy almost a century of deferred maintenance with substantial preservation and rehabilitation. The project is funded through grants from the Environmental Protection Fund administered by the NYS Office of Park, Recreation, and Historic Preservation; Downtown Revitalization Initiative Headed by NYS Department of State and Administered by NYS Homes & Community Renewal; City of Auburn American Rescue Plan Act; and Save America's Treasures Grant administered by the National Park Service, Department of the Interior.

After heavy preservation is performed on the barn's structure, the goal then becomes rehabilitation. The barn's first floor will be transformed into a utiliatarian space with plenty of room for seating; in effect, serving the Museum nicely as a receiving, orientation, and event space. The basement of the Barn will likewise experience its fair share of transformative rehabilitation with the installation of electricity, plumbing, and finishes for it to be used as a maintenance area and workshop for the Museum's Facilities Department.

The Carriage House - aptly named for its original purpose - will once again house the Sewards' carriage, which remains in the Museum's collection. The carriage will be exhibited on the first floor of the Carriage House and will be accessible to the public year-round. The second floor, once used as an apartment for domestic help that worked for the Sewards, will accomodate offices for Museum staff. 


Landscaping will be enhanced throughout this area of the Museum campus as well. New accessible pathways, plantings, and lighting will tie the restored buildings together in a way that encourages exploration. Once completed, both the barn and carriage house will receive top-to-bottom improvements that will allow for public and Museum use. Most importantly, though, they will be preserved for the future of Seward story telling. 

Project FAQs 

How will this project effect my visit? 

This project will not impact your experience inside the Seward House Museum. However, during most of the project, there will be no parking on the Museum's campus. Please check our Directions & Parking page for more information on where to park for your visit. 

Why is Seward House Museum doing this project? 

The Seward House Museum has been working since 2012 on revitalizing its campus to accomodate more visitors and create a more wholistic expereince. In addition, the main house doesn't have a dedicated space for meetings, rentals, group orientations, or lectures. This project will deliver on these needs and more. For example, the carriage house's second floor being transformed into staff offices will open more space in the building for collection storage and interpetation. The carriage will also be moved into a dedicated exhibit in the carriage house as part of this project, and the Museum's operations department will gain a workshop space in the barn basemnet that will allow for more in-house preservation. 

Why is the barn structure in need of heavy preservation? 

The barn's framework was heavily rennovated in the 1920's, and many of these rennovations were performed hastily without considering long-term effects. As a result, over the past century the structure of the barn has deteriorated, posing significant risk to the building. Previous means of repair were diverted towards other projects that assisted the main building, thereby resulting in deffered maintenance on the barn. Once the Museum conceptualized the potential of the barn as a public space, state and federal grants were awarded to save the building. 

How long is this going to take? 

Construction has begun in October 2023, and will conclude September 2024. Please visit the Museum in the meantime to watch the progress, and witness history being saved!