The most distinctive room in the Wren’s Nest is Joel Chandler Harris’s room.
Esther LaRose Harris, his widow, insisted that his room remain “unmessed with” (don’t worry — it’s a technical term) if the Wren’s Nest were to become a museum.
So, the bedroom remained more or less the same for the past 100 years. The artifacts are cataloged, and Miss Nannie dusts in there from time to time, but that’s really about it. For better or worse, it’s rare to have this sort of preservation in a monitored setting.
When it came time for IFACS to start cleaning the room, we had one major concern — the matting on the floor.
The matting is original to the room, but it’s beat up, dusty, falling apart, and detrimental to the surrounding artifacts.
Our solution was this — buy a similar matting, distress it, and place it over the original. This would preserve the original matting much better, not to mention the surrounding artifacts.
After snooping around inside the room, the IFACS folks made a glorious discovery — there’s additional original matting under the top layer!
On the left side, the top layer of matting has been rolled up to reveal even more original matting in pretty excellent condition. On the right side, you can see how the top layer was falling apart.
So, instead of buying anything new, IFACS merely rolled up the top layer and stored it safely.
In person, you can even see the faded pattern on the “new” matting. The pattern looks a little bit like it was modeled after some of the enemy spaceships from Space Invaders.