Museum Rooftops

History is repeating itself … up on the roofs of museums across the nation.

As older roofs fail on noteworthy historical projects, preservationists have found the answer of recreating natural slate and shake roofs in the form of man-made polymer roofing tiles from DaVinci Roofscapes.

More durable than natural products, the synthetic roofing tiles from DaVinci resist fire, impact, high winds and the punishing weather conditions brought on by Mother Nature. In Durango, Colo., the milled wood roof shingles on the 1880s Peterson House were so worn by time and weather that they had simply crumbled apart. As part of ongoing restoration efforts of the historic structure in 2011, the team at Animas Museum added DaVinci Fancy Shake roofing tile in the Mountain color to replicate the look of the original roof.

“We love the roof because it is ‘spot on’ for the period and the building,” says Carolyn Bowra, director of Animas Museum. “The mission at our museum is to keep La Plata County history and culture alive for present and future generations. DaVinci Roofscapes has certainly supported this effort and made it possible for the Peterson House to have a new life.”

Across the country in Chicago, another museum also sports a DaVinci composite roof.

After a proud history that includes serving as a horse stable during the 1893 World’s Fair, the Roundhouse at DuSable Museum in Chicago has now been restored and is topped by a DaVinci Multi-Width slate roof.

Part of the first African American museum campus in the United States, the 66,000-square foot Roundhouse and the adjoining buildings are home to a library, café, galleries, technology and language lab, museum store and educational spaces. The building is considered one of the main contributing features to the recognition of Washington Park when it was designated in 2004 on the National Register of Historic Places.

“We realized at the start of the project that the first priority was to support the historic restoration of the building,” says Sarah Delezen, senior project manager for the Alter Group. “The DaVinci roofing tiles look amazing on the Roundhouse. The structure’s original roof was made of slate, so we were pleased that these polymer tiles have the texture and subtle variations of color that make them appear historically accurate. The Castle Gray blend of colors in the roof perfectly offsets the copper gutters on this structure.”

For more information on these projects, visit Historic Peterson House Gets DaVinci Polymer Roof and Historic DuSable Museum Gets New Polymer Roof – Part I.