Gerald Ford Conservation Center

What's Bugging You?

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.

Light Damage

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. 

Simons' Sketches

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. 

Transfiguration

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

Fit for a King

Not every piece that comes into the Ford Center gets treated right away.  Sometimes there is a backlog that builds up if a lot of work comes in to the labs, but sometimes objects are brought in to be assessed for later treatment.  For instance, a museum may bring in a work of art to get a proposal and use the estimate to fundraise for the cost of treatment.  It is a great opportunity for museums to share information about the importance of caring for their collections. 

Bombs Away

During World War II, the US Army Air Force would practice bombing runs in preparation for battle.  They had designated bombing ranges where pilots could drop the bombs at a safe distance.  Unfortunately, one Nebraska town learned the hard way that practice does not always make perfect.  In the wee hours of August 16, 1943, a practice bombing run dropped six bombs on Tarnov, NE, mistaking the town lights for the bombing range. Thankfully no one was injured.

Flowers in the Attic

The original wallpaper in the attic of Willa Cather's childhood home is an artifact with a rich historical and literary significance. Our conservators are helping the National Willa Cather Center preserve its material & historical context.

Learn more about their process.

Trash to Treasure

This Great Depression Era hand-painted ad for Advo Coffee was in bad shape when it arrived at our Ford Conservation Center.

It was split into pieces, warped, and caked in dirt. It took the combined expertise of three conservators to give this piece of history new life.

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