Reynolda House Presents Exhibition Focused on the Preservation of its Historic Roof

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (Sept. 4, 2019)— Reynolda House is opening an exhibition featuring details about its historic green tile roof and renovations that will be made in the next few years. The exhibition, Raise the Roof: Replacing Reynolda’s Historic Roof, will open on September 10, 2019 and will remain on display until June 27, 2021 in the West Bedroom Gallery. Raise the Roof is sponsored by Leigh and Gray Smith.

Much of Reynolda’s architectural character comes from its long, low roofline of green clay tiles manufactured by the Ludowici Tile Company, which remains in business today. In 2020, Reynolda will begin the rehabilitation of the 102-year-old roof. Raise the Roof offers an inside look at the roof’s history, its construction, and its rehabilitation. Archival documents on view include Katharine Reynolds’s original correspondence with architect Charles Barton Keen and the Ludowici Tile Company.

Historical photographs will illustrate various stages of the bungalow’s construction, including an image of the entire Reynolds family admiring their home from atop its completed first story. Museum visitors will experience a bird’s eye view of the roof through aerial videography. Meanwhile, a model of a roof section will provide a close-up view of the clay tiles and the layers that they cover. The exhibition will be on view throughout the rehabilitation project, providing updates on the roof’s progress. 

Reynolda identified its historic roof as a priority area in 2017 during routine preventative maintenance. Allison Perkins, Reynolda House executive director and Wake Forest University associate provost for Reynolda House and Reynolda Gardens, said during the repair and restoration, the museum will seek to retain the roof’s character-defining elements and limit upgrading of materials. Ludowici Tile Company, the original tile manufacturer, will work closely with Reynolda on the project. 

Museum staff have formed an advisory team to identify preservation standards and processes that will adhere to the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties and preservation guidelines from the National Park Service. The team, led by the museum’s deputy director Phil Archer, includes preservation architect Joseph Oppermann, architectural historian Margaret Supplee Smith, and historian Thomas Frank. Smith, a professor emerita at Wake Forest, and Frank, associate dean for continuing studies at Wake Forest, have used Reynolda as a living classroom.

“Reynolda’s historic 1917 bungalow is an object, in and of itself, within our collections, and its preservation is a critical priority,” said Perkins. “In addition to its function as a major design feature, the roof is also essential for the protection and long-term preservation of the American fine art and decorative arts that are in our care.”

The repair and restoration of the historic roof is projected to cost of $1.7 million. A fundraising and crowdfunding campaign will take place in an effort to meet the projected cost. The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) awarded Reynolda House Museum of American Art a $420,482 grant to help repair and replace the iconic green tile roof. This is the first NEH grant awarded to Reynolda House and the largest federal grant in the museum’s history. Wake Forest University has committed $630,000 to the roof repair. Forsyth County has pledged $50,000 and The Cannon Foundation is donating $100,000 to the roof.  Local firm Frank L. Blum Construction Company has been selected to lead Reynolda in its roof rehabilitation and restoration. 

Beginning in September, Reynolda House will be reaching out to the community to gain further support for the project. To learn more about how you can support Reynolda’s roof preservation efforts, please contact Stephan Dragisic at

About Reynolda
Reynolda, in Winston-Salem, N.C., is a rare gem among the nation’s cultural institutions and historic greenspaces. The 50-year-old museum at the center of Reynolda’s 180 acres, Reynolda House Museum of American Art, presents a renowned art collection in a historic and incomparable setting: the original 1917 interiors of the country manor of R. J. Reynolds. Spanning 250 years, the collection is an uncompromisingly selective one, a chronology of American art, with each artist represented by one work of major significance. Highlights are: Albert Bierstadt, Mary Cassatt, William Merritt Chase, Frederic Edwin Church, Stuart Davis, Martin Johnson Heade, Alex Katz, Lee Krasner, Jacob Lawrence, Georgia O’Keeffe, John Singer Sargent and Grant Wood. The collection was assembled by the unerring eye of Barbara Babcock Millhouse, granddaughter of R. J. and Katharine Reynolds. The Reynolda experience includes a free app called Reynolda Revealed; touring exhibitions in the museum’s Mary and Charlie Babcock Wing; formal gardens, conservatory and walking trails of Reynolda Gardens; and more than 25 of the estate’s original buildings repurposed as shops and restaurants in Reynolda Village. Reynolda, located at 2250 Reynolda Road, is adjacent to Wake Forest University. For more information, please visit

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