conservation

sketch of colorful mural of abstract shapes

A piece recently treated at the Ford Center is this study for a mural entitled Swing Landscape by artist Stuart Davis.  Davis was a New York artist who studied under Nebraska-raised artist Robert Henri.  The mural was commissioned by the Works Progress Administration for a housing project in Brooklyn, New York and depicts the Gloucester, Massachusetts, waterfront.  Influenced by jazz, radio, film and consumer products in America, Stuart’s work makes use of vibrant colors, rhythm and abstract shapes.  The mural is an oil on canvas that measures approxim

A woman holds up a yard stick to measure the height of a clear plastic bubble that covers the sealed box with a slicker inside.

The staff in the Objects Lab at the Ford Center had an extraordinary challenge this year.  They were presented with a group of twelve archeological rubber raincoats, also known as slickers.  This group of rubber raincoats is part of the collection of the Steamboat Bertrand, shipwrecked in 1865 and excavated in 1969 in what is now De Soto Wildlife Refuge.

An official document. In addition to the writing there is a coat of arms at the top, a drawing of a soldier and native american shaking hands at the bottom, and a drawing of a shield and weapons on the lower proper right.

When this document arrived at our Ford Conservation Center, it was in pretty rough shape. Thankfully, Hilary LeFevere, our expert Paper Conservator at the Ford Center, was able to do the hard task of properly conserving this piece of Nebraska history.

sandhill cranes marker

sandhill cranes marker

Marker ​Location


2000-2026 W Platte River Dr, Doniphan, Hall County, Nebraska

View this marker's location.

During treatment photo shows painting with left half cleaned and right half uncleaned.

On January 1, 1863, Daniel Freeman filed the one of the first claims under the Homestead Act of 1862 in what is now Beatrice, Nebraska.  When the Freemans built a cabin there, they became known as "America's First Homestead Family".  The site of Freeman's claim is now Homestead National Monument of America, a unit of the National Park Service.  

Close up shot of sticky trap with many insects on it.

We are all familiar with the difficulties of avoiding pest infestations in our homes and offices. All buildings are in need of pest control. Developed for the agricultural industry, Integrated Pest Management (IPM) systems have been adapted for use by a wide array of businesses, including museums and libraries. A tailored IPM program assists in protecting an institution’s cultural collections by incorporating the long-term, low-toxicity principles.  The four basic steps of an IPM program are: prevent, monitor, identify, and control.

Mold growth on leather saddle

Preserving the life of collections objects is not easy. One of the best ways to make sure they last as long as possible is to manage the temperature and relative humidity of their storage environment.

The conservators at our Ford Conservation Center are experts in preserving precious items

Detail photograph of a board with dyed cotton fabric swatches. The blotter covering the top half of the rows of swatches is lifted to reveal the original dye colors underneath.  The exposed bottom half are noticeably faded.

Exposure to visible and ultraviolet radiation can be a significant factor in the survival of objects.  All wavelengths of radiation provide energy for deterioration reactions that degrade materials; the more powerful the radiation the faster the deterioration. 

Woman standing over sink, lifts a pencil sketch on paper out of water bath.

The Ford Conservation Center has been treating a series of sketches by Iowa artist George Simons.  The sketches were gifted by a private donor to PACE (Pottawatomie Art Culture Entertainment) in Council Bluffs, IA. 

mural of Transfiguration behind alter.  Scaffolding set up in front of mural.

Over the summer, Kenneth Bé, Ford Center Paintings Conservator, spent a week in a little town in Kansas.  Surrounded by the beauty of the Kansas plains, Kenneth worked to clean a mural that had already survived so much.


panoramic photo of brick church on the open plains

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