History Nebraska Blog

Restoring Willa Cather's Attic Bedroom Wallpaper

Recently, Hilary LeFevere, Paper Conservator at our Ford Conservation Center, and Megan Griffiths, Technician, spent the week in Red Cloud, NE, working with the National Willa Cather Center to clean Willa Cather’s wallpaper. Here's a look at what they were up to and how the work of conservation gets done.

An important step in the process was to very thoroughly and carefully vacuum both the floor and walls.

Cather herself hung the wallpaper as a teen in her attic bedroom and wrote about it later in her novel “Song of the Lark.”

Here, you can see the original colors of the wallpaper hiding behind an overlapping section of paper.

Hilary testing different adhesives and papers for future repairs.

Megan, a Conservation Technician at the Ford Center, dry cleaning the paper with cosmetic sponges.

Hilary also using steam to test if it was possible for her to safely remove a section of the wallpaper for archival purposes.

A wider angle image of the wallpaper that Hilary and Megan were working on.

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