Bishop White Chest

Bishop White Chest on Chest cabinet was adopted by Cathy and Bill Siegl.

The chest, resides in the second floor of the Bishop White House, in Bishop White’s Bedroom. The chest over the years suffered from light damage to the one side of the chest.

Cathy is a Twilight Tour Guide in the summers and a weekly Friends office volunteer.

Bill, when he is not doing woodworking in his basement, volunteers at Harriton House in Bryn Mawr, the home of Charles Thomson, Secretary of the Continental and Constitutional Congresses.


To Bill, this lovely mahogany chest was better made than anything available in a showroom today. As a woodworker, he appreciates the skill that was necessary to build it and felt that it should be restored. As a Twilight Tour Guide, Cathy was drawn to the history of the piece, its setting in the Bishop White House, and the opportunity to ‘adopt’ a piece of history right here in Independence Park. Bishop White played such a pivotal role in the early nation, especially during the Yellow Fever epidemic in 1793. Cathy recently learned that the piece was actually made in 1770 for a young woman. Having dabbled in family genealogy, she thinks it would be fun to track her down.


The chest has now been conserved and Cathy and Bill could not be happier with the work.


Bill’s Story

I was drawn to the project because it was a beautiful example of craftsmanship in wood. I felt like Salieri hearing Mozart. I could appreciate the level of work but knew it was way beyond anything I would ever be capable of doing. I particularly enjoyed watching the restorer work on the piece. He also was a craftsman and his technique amazed me. Being an ‘Artifact Adopter” also gave me a chance to touch the piece, which was great. It is nice to know that we had a bit in helping something special be preserved.


Cathy’s Story

I thoroughly enjoyed the whole concept of Adopt-an- Artifact and appreciated how quickly it was supported by both the Park and the Friends. Kicking off such a project and being so close to the artifacts gave me chills. We got to see the chest-on-chest in the Bishop White House before, during and after the conservation, to meet Mike, the craftsman, and to take as many pictures as Bill wanted. It makes us feel welcome and reinforces one of my favorite Park mottos: Maintenance is Preservation!


Conservator at work   CS_pic_3


Detail of the work         Picture 2

Remember, you can be more than a Friend, you can be a Hero