The Rapp Houses at Old Economy Village are set to reopen to the public on this weekend, two years after closing for renovations.
"I think it's exciting," said Michael Knecht, site administrator. "We're very excited to have the houses back and opening to the public."
The $1.2 million capital project was based on a historic furnishings plan funded by the Richard Von Hess Foundation and developed by Dr. Gail Caskey Winkler, FASID.
Knecht said the project, for the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission through the Department of General Services, took "a lot of work by a lot of people."
Old Economy Village worked with Laura McCoy Designs, Inc. of Newport, NH and Adelphi Paper Hangings, LLC of Sharon Springs, New York to reproduce historic wallpapers based on the original documents and remnants that were found on the walls during the first restoration of the Rapp Houses that took place in the 1950s and 1960s.
"If you get to pick one word to describe it, it is exciting that all of this is happening," said Sandy Carroll, volunteer and site rental coordinator.
The houses depict how Harmony Society founder and leader George Rapp and his adopted son Frederick Rapp would have lived, from their offices and kitchens to their bedroom and dining areas.
In addition to period pieces, such as furnishings and art work, both homes have new window treatments, period-appropriate floor coverings and fresh painting, plaster, and electrical work. Architectural changes will be on display, such as closing doorways between the houses that did not exist in the original drawings of the houses.
The public can view the Rapp Houses and the entire site from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Interpreters and demonstrators will be on hand to describe Harmonist life in the 19th Century.
Admission is $10 for adults 12-64; $9 for seniors (65 and over); $6 for children (3-11) and free for children under 3, active-duty military and members of the Friends of Old Economy Village.
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