Back to the Work: Dave Painter

Back to the Work, our project with Lippitt House Museum, aims to reveal the human fingerprints that cover our world, specifically because of work concerning construction, manufacturing, and maintenance. We are also connecting the past to the present by revealing history to be the accumulation of practices that have brought us here, rather than a tidy timeline of isolated events. In order to do all that, we're both researching who labored in the house at the time of its construction in 1865, and interviewing the people who labor in Lippitt House today. 

Lippitt House Museum is cared for by an incredible artisan named Dave Painter*. While he is currently transitioning from being the resident restoration specialist and do-er of all things that need doing to the Property Manager for Preserve RI, he still has plenty to offer about what makes Lippitt House so special. 

We met with Dave a few weeks ago to see if he might like to be involved in the project. We were delighted to discover a kindred spirit full of passion, and got to work scheduling our official interview. Last week Jed, Andy our sound and video designer, and I recorded an hour-long conversation with Dave while sitting in the Lippitt House library. Dave's passion for old buildings and for the artistic skill it took to build them and that it takes to maintain them is contagious. 

We wish we could share the entire conversation, but in the end, Andy will edit the whole chat down to about 10 minutes for visitors to hear. Maybe we'll be able to release some of Dave's other stories eventually. I especially love hearing him talk about the importance of old windows, why you should paint your ceilings a color other than white, and the sled he restored as a kid in rural PA. I'm sure you'll love hearing those stories too.


*Dave Painter got his name because of years working on construction sites with many guys named Dave. There was Dave the Carpenter, Dave the Electrician, etc. Our Dave was always Dave the Painter. When he arrived at Preserve RI, they decided to drop the "the" and just call him Dave Painter.