Ramsey House to Close for Historic Renovations

For immediate release

Release dated: 
November 28, 2007
Media contacts: 

Jessica Kohen
Media Relations and E-Communications

Kathleen Lindenberg
Alexander Ramsey House

Ramsey House to Close for Historic Renovations

The Alexander Ramsey House will close for several months beginning Jan. 2 so renovations can be made to the home’s parlor and heating system. Preservation of the home and its contents is the focus of the renovations. Members of the media who are interested in exploring the process of rehabilitating a historic home can contact Jessica Kohen at 651-259-3148 or jessica.kohen@mnhs.org to make arrangements. The site will remain open for its regular tours and programs through Jan. 1.

Overview of Project
The parlor will undergo a renovation bringing the space to its 1881 time period. From 1879 to 1881 Alexander Ramsey served as the U.S. Secretary of War. Both he and his wife Anna, lived in Washington, D.C., during those years only to return to St. Paul after Ramsey lost his bid for the U.S. Senate in 1880.  It was in 1881 that Anna Ramsey redecorated the parlor. The current renovation includes installing reproduction period wallpaper and a replica of the original Wilton carpet. The parlor restoration is funded by the Anna E.R. Furness Fund and the Alexander Ramsey House Board of Governors.
At the same time the parlor is being updated, workers will add a state-of-the-art heating, ventilation and air conditioning system. Updating the system will provide stable environmental conditions critical for the protection of the mansion and the collection housed within, without altering its appearance. Funding for the project is provided by the Minnesota Legislature through its Asset Preservation Funds.

Alexander Ramsey House History
Construction of the home began in 1868. It was equipped with the latest technology, including hot and cold running water, gas lighting and hot water radiators. The Ramseys and their 19-year-old daughter, Marion, moved into the home in September 1875.
Marion Ramsey Furness raised her children in the home and eventually her two daughters, Anita (Anna) and Laura, took possession of the mansion. In 1964 Anna Furness bequeathed the home to the Minnesota Historical Society, along with family letters, numerous photographs and more than 14,000 original furnishings.
For more information about the history of the home and the Ramsey family, visit the media room at http://events.mnhs.org/media/kits/sites/arh/index.cfm.

During the closure, the site will accept reservations for school and group tours, summer camp, children’s parties and other programs for the remainder of the year. In May the house tours will return with a special focus on the public entertaining spaces, including the newly renovated parlor. Further information about the exact re-opening of the Ramsey House will be announced at a later date. The site will remain open for its regular tour and programs through Jan. 1.
The Alexander Ramsey House is located at 265 S. Exchange St. one block south of West Seventh Street near downtown St. Paul. For more information and reservations, call 651-296-8760 or visit www.mnhs.org/ramseyhouse.