Peeling Back the Layers of Time — LINOLEUM

Storage3Today we start a sev­er­al-week series of posts on the incred­i­ble sto­ry told by the lay­ers of paint, wall­pa­per, car­pet­ing and wood­work found through­out Camp­bell House.  Though you won’t see it on a reg­u­lar vis­it to the Muse­um, our cli­mate-con­trolled stor­age room holds thou­sands of scraps of wall/floor cov­er­ings and sam­ples of the beau­ti­ful paint and orig­i­nal wood­work that once adorned the Camp­bells’ halls.

Today we’re tak­ing a peek at every­one’s favorite sub­ject… linoleum!  Though linoleum might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of stel­lar inte­ri­or dec­o­ra­tion and art­work, the Camp­bells actu­al­ly had real­ly excel­lent tastes in their linoleum choic­es, and they’re works of art in their own way.

When we went to do the muse­um restora­tion about 12 years ago, we were lucky to have these pieces.  Peo­ple who were a whole lot smarter than us were con­tract­ed to do com­plex col­or analy­ses, and recre­ate wall/floor cov­er­ings that were iden­ti­cal to the ones Vir­ginia Camp­bell would have picked out for her home well over a cen­tu­ry ago.  The pic­ture below shows this — who would’ve thought that the orig­i­nal linoleum was so bright and vibrant!


Scroll through the pic­tures below to check out some more of our love­ly linoleum.


Linoleum sam­ples are mount­ed on boards, labeled, and sealed with plas­tic to hold the brit­tle rem­nants together.


Intern Shan­nan peels back the plas­tic cov­er­ing to take a clos­er look at some orig­i­nal CHM linoleum











Newest lay­er of linoleum found dur­ing the restora­tion, dat­ing from the ear­ly 20th cen­tu­ry. This was prob­a­bly one of the last lay­ers put in by the Camp­bell fam­i­ly and was actu­al­ly found UNDER floor­boards put in by the Muse­um in the 1940s.


Detail — ear­ly 20th cen­tu­ry linoleum













Old­est lay­er of linoleum found dur­ing the restora­tion, dat­ing from the mid-19th cen­tu­ry. It has a dif­fer­ent, more grainy tex­ture than oth­er linoleum found in the house dur­ing the same period.



Detail — back of mid-1800s linoleum











Detail — mid-1800s linoleum


19th cen­tu­ry linoleum found under­neath floor­boards in the kitchen










The Camp­bell kitchen in the present day. Though not as flashy as the designs seen above, the plain steel gray linoleum is also appro­pri­ate to the period.