The transformation of this historic tavern into an educational institution requires the adaptive use of its various rooms into functional museum space. Since the building is on the National Register of Historic Places, certain limitations are placed on the building’s re-use due to ADA standards and AAM accreditation guidelines. Nevertheless, the existing space will be more than adequate for the development of a museum presenting Southampton’s Civil War experience.
The first floor will be devoted to three exhibit galleries: Southampton Soldiers, The Life and Times of William Mahone and The Blackwater Line/Battle of Crumpler’s Bluff. The east parlor’s original woodwork should be returned to how it appeared in 1840. The east wall should be wallpapered to the 1840’s if research can document the original look. The existing kitchen can be transformed into a gift shop or handicapped restrooms if the existing restroom cannot be altered to meet ADA guidelines.
The second floor’s usage is limited by ADA compliance; nevertheless, the space still can be used for managing the museum and some educational activities. The east bedroom should be used as a conference room which will enable the historic features to be preserved and rehabilitated. Research should be undertaken to discover the room’s paint and wallpaper from circa 1840 so that this room is decorated in the style when William Mahone lived in the house. The west bedroom should be for office space and collections management.
The third floor will be used to house fire suppression and climate control systems as well as document and gift shop storage. If proper air quality can be achieved then the space can also be used for artifact storage.