Restoration in Nauvoo is an attempt to return at least a portion of Nauvoo to its original appearance during the 1839–1846 time range. Authenticity is a primary goal of Nauvoo Restoration, Incorporated, the foundation sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to restore this former Mormon city. However, absolute authenticity in restoration is not possible because that process depends upon available evidence, correct interpretation, skill of construction people, materials used, funds, and other variables, all of which pose limitations. One purpose of restoration in Nauvoo is for the city to serve as a valuable educational medium, teaching Latter-day Saints about their history while also educating visitors. A second goal of restoration in Nauvoo is to expand our knowledge of how the people lived in the 1840s. New historical and architectural data, even the bits and pieces of dishes, bottles, and other items recovered, reveal much about the people and their lives.
The Jonathan Browning home is an example of such restoration in Nauvoo. This discussion of the Browning site at Nauvoo will be more effective if it is preceded by a discussion of methods used in researching and restoring historic sites.