Massachusetts Historical Commission - 2015 Preservation Award Winners
Andrea Gilmore, Individual Lifetime Achievement

Andrea Gilmore

Individual Lifetime Achievement

Andrea Gilmore's career in historic preservation spans more than thirty years, during which she has been involved in some of the most significant preservation projects in New England. The focus of her career has been repair and conservation of historic building materials, and has included building surveys, development of repair and conservation treatments, preparation of drawings and specifications to implement conservation and repair work, and monitoring work during construction. Ms. Gilmore holds an MA in Historic Preservation from the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Historic Preservation. She worked at the Cultural Resource Center of the National Park Service for eight years, and subsequently became the Director of Architectural Services at Historic New England's Conservation Center. In 1994, she established the New England office of Building Conservation Associates, Inc. (BCA), where she continues to serve as a consultant. During her tenure with BCA, Ms. Gilmore oversaw more than 900 preservation projects, personally providing services for hundreds of them. Her projects have received awards from Preservation Massachusetts, the City of Cambridge, the Boston Society of Architects, the Massachusetts Historical Commission, and preservation organizations in Connecticut and Maine. Ten of her projects received Boston Preservation Alliance Achievement Awards.

Ms. Gilmore has consulted on buildings all over New England, and beyond, but the majority of her work has been in Massachusetts. She has helped to preserve historic landmarks such as the Massachusetts State House, Trinity Church, the Nichols House Museum, and the Chestnut Hill Waterworks, all in Boston, as well as the Fairbanks House in Dedham, the Church of the Presidents in Quincy, and Union Station in Springfield. Highlights of her work include finding the original 1681 exterior doors within the west wall of the Old Ship Meeting House in Hingham, and the discovery of the original Bulfinch paint colors in the Governor's Office at the State House. Through research, she proved that the Dreamland Theater in Nantucket originally served as a Quaker meetinghouse in 1835, was disassembled and moved to Brant Point, where it became part of the Nantucket Hotel, and then in 1905 was floated back across Nantucket Harbor to Water Street, where it began its use as a theater.

While BCA is hired by many contractors and developers around the state, Ms. Gilmore also volunteers her services for rehabilitation projects with limited resources. She conducted paint analysis for the First Church in Roxbury and the Alvah Kittredge House, also located in Boston's Roxbury neighborhood, on a volunteer basis. She has served as a board member of Historic Boston, Inc., and currently serves on its Council of Advisors. She also served on the Dedham Historic District Commission and has been a board member for the Dedham Historical Society for a number of years, and currently as its vice president. She has been a diligent guardian of the historic buildings of First Church in Dedham. A tireless advocate for responsible stewardship of historic resources, Ms. Gilmore has influenced a generation of conservators as a teacher at Boston University and as a mentor for conservators who have worked with her, including her daughters, both of whom are pursuing careers in historic preservation. In her retirement, Ms. Gilmore plans to devote time to the proposed restoration of the First Church in Roxbury, continuing her lifelong work of preserving the historic built environment of New England for future generations.

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