Sam Houston State University students in Caroline Crimm’s hands-on history class have completed this semester’s restoration on the Daniel Boone Guerrant log cabin at the Sam Houston Memorial Museum. This is the second semester students have worked to restore the cabin.

Guerrant’s cabin was built in 1848 and was originally located approximately 11 miles north of Huntsville near the west fork of the San Jacinto River. Generations of Guerrant’s family used the cabin as a home for many years. It was donated by family members to the museum and moved during the spring of 2004.

The first group of students began the restoration project during the fall semester in 2005.

“The first class rebuilt the cabin,” Crimm said. “We disassembled it and brought it back to the museum.”

Crimm and her students helped Mac Woodward, curator of collections at the museum, relocate the cabin by numbering and taking apart every log and then putting it back together.

“We decided to preserve the original parts of the cabin,” Woodward said. “There were missing logs and damaged logs due to decay or termites.”

An aluminum roof was also added and the floor and porches were replaced.

This semester students nailed boards between the splits of each log and then daubed a sand, lime and cement mixture between the logs.

Students worked on the restoration project six hours a week for two months.

“Historically in the winter, families would chink the wood on the inside of the cabin, take a mud, hay and lime mixture and pack it between the logs on the outside” Crimm said. “The process seals the cabin making it nice and cozy during the cold months.

“Families used to do this every year just before the winter set in to try to keep the home comfortable,” she added.

Crimm said many of the students enjoy helping with the restoration project.

“It becomes their cabin,” she said. “It’s something they can come back to years later and point to an area and say ‘I nailed that nail.’

“It’s a community project as well as a learning experience for the students,” she added.

The next class during the fall semester of 2007 will restore the chimneys, doors and windows. In the future, the second floor of the cabin will also be rebuilt.

“People that visit the museum get to see the restoration project in stages,” she said. “They see the different steps of what we’ve done and where we’re going.”

Recently, the Texas Society of Children of the American Revolution donated $1,248 to the funds used to restore the cabin. The total cost of the cabin restoration is estimated at $25,000.

The cabin is located on the north of the complex near SHSU’s Jackson-Shaver student dormitory. It is used as a place for musicians during the annual Sam Houston Folk Festival.

“People are interested in log cabins as it was a big part of American history,” said museum director Patrick Nolan. “The work in progress gives us an opportunity to educate visitors about preservation and restoration.”

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