Renovations at Custom House


Chestertown visitors and residents will see some changes happening at the Custom House at 101 South Water Street this summer, as the 18th-century building on the banks of the Chester River—the home of the Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience—undergoes renovation.

The Custom House

The renovations to the interior and façade mark the culmination of a six-month planning process that involved the College, town, and state. The College has been working hard to eliminate deferred maintenance in all of its buildings, and work at the Custom House will include HVAC upgrades, recarpeting, repainting, gutter repairs, mold elimination, and repointing sections of the brick façade.

“We look forward to developing new spaces for oral history, public history, student internships, and community collaboration,” Starr Center Deputy Director Pat Nugent said. “The renovation work has been planned for quite some time now, and I’m very excited for the opportunities it provides us to re-imagine the role that this historic landmark can play in academic, student, and community life here in Chestertown.”

The restoration work will ensure the Starr Center’s continued place as an innovative leader in public humanities research and programming, allowing the center to grow its professional staff and student interns, while also configuring spaces to allow for an oral history recording studio and flexible student workspaces.

While Friday and Saturday Custom House audio tours will be postponed for the summer, the historic site will reopen to students, staff, and the general public in mid-August, just in time for the Starr Center’s exciting Fall 2017 line-up of public humanities programming open and free to the public. Keep an eye on the Starr Center’s website for more news about the renovation work and forthcoming public programs.

Letters to Editor

  1. The other long-time residents of the Custom House, the Center for Environment & Society and its Public Archaeology Lab, have relocated to 210 South Cross St. This will be their home until a new waterfront academic building is constructed on the Chester River shoreline. Stop by and see us!

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