History Nebraska Blog

The Ford Conservation Center: Here to Help

It’s a new year and a good time to remind our blog readers of what we do at the Ford Center. The Ford Conservation Center is the conservation division of History Nebraska.  We not only care for and treat the state’s collections, but we also act as a regional lab, taking in work from institutions and private clients in the region. 

The Ford Center is in the Hanscom Park Neighborhood in Omaha.




We are named for former President Gerald R. Ford, as our building is adjacent to the Gerald Ford Birth Site at 32nd and Woolworth in Omaha, Nebraska.  The house where Ford was born was located on the corner of what is now a small park, but burned down in the 1970s.  James Paxson, a local businessperson, bought the land after Ford became president and gave part of the land to the city for the Ford Birth Site, and the other lot to the State of Nebraska for what is now the Ford Conservation Center.

DT Capitol Chail

Objects Conservator, Rebecca Cashman, makes repairs to the damaged leather of an office chair.

It is a common misconception that we only treat objects owned by Gerald Ford or that we only work with museums, or with very valuable works of art.  Quite the contrary!  While we have worked on many items that belonged to former presidents, we have yet to treat anything owned by President Ford.  And items do not need to have any particular monetary value or historical significance for our staff to treat it.  If it is valuable to you, it is valuable to us.

Hilary at Work

Hilary LeFevere, the Paper Conservator, examines a document under a microscope.

So what do we treat?  We have a Paper Lab, a Paintings Lab, and an Objects Lab.  The Paper lab treats anything on paper: paper-based photographs, books, documents, drawings, prints, maps, etc.  The Paintings Lab treats paintings on canvas or board, as well as murals or theatre curtains and backdrops.  The Objects Lab treats almost everything else.  Objects cover items made of wood, glass, metal, stone, plaster, ceramic, plastics, and other modern materials.  If you have a textile that needs treatment, contact us and we can determine if we can help.  Sometimes we are able to treat the textile, and if not, we can direct you to a textile conservator who can.

Paintings Lab

Kenneth Bé, the Paintings Conservator, begins to inpaint a loss on a portrait that has been filled.

We also have collections care guides on our website that can help you care for your own items.  If you need help storing heirlooms or hanging artwork or want to know how to properly polish your silver, there is a guide for you. 

If you have questions or would like to make an appointment, contact us any time via our contact form on our website, call us at 402-595-1180, or email hn.fordcenter@nebraska.gov to set up an appointment. We are here to help!

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