Gerald Ford Conservation Center

Conservation Technician Vonnda Shaw (left) and Objects Conservator Rebecca Cashman (right) inpaint losses on the sculpture.

Much has been made over the last several years over “restoration” work performed by untrained people.  First there was the fiasco of the fresco “Ecce Homo” in the Sanctuary of Mercy church in Borja, Spain, which was restored by an elderly parishioner.  More recently, in June of 2018, there was the story of a group in Estella, Spain, that painted over a wooden statue of St George which dated back to the 16th Century.  You can read more about these pieces here.

Conservator removes burlap from back of mural

It was a challenge, but our Ford Conservation Center helped the Wikel family preserve their grandfather's 116-year-old oil landscape paintings.

Custom box for ledger diary with tray for textblock

Last month, we showed the first steps of repairing a soldier's diary that also contained Native American ledger art.  The leather case (covers and spine) and textblock had been cleaned and the torn pages were repaired with Japanese paper and wheat starch paste. 


Sewn textblock in custom sink mat tray

Detail image of diary tears being repaired with tissue

142 years can put a lot of wear and tear on a leather-bound diary. Our Ford Conservation Center fixed it up and preserved both the original diary entries and the Native American art within.

The Objects Lab at the Ford Center recently treated a interesting frame for a painting of Logan Fontenelle.  It is a large, wooden frame for the portrait by artist William Andrew Mackay. Logan Fontenelle, or Shon-ga-ska (White Horse), was the last ruling Chief of the Omaha Tribe.  He was the son of Me-um-bane, the daughter of chief Big Elk, and Lucien Fontenelle, a French-American fur trader from New Orleans.  

Chris Tysor stands in front of bust of Gerald Ford and photo of young Gerald Ford.

Normally our Ford Conservation Center's Gerald Ford exhibit is open by appointment only, but when Chief Aviation Ordnanceman Chris Tysor showed up they decided to make an exception.

1935 Kearney Opera House curtain, water damaged, before treatment

Many of the rural opera houses that once covered Nebraska are gone, but their painted curtains are often still around. Our Ford Conservation Center recently restored the curtain that decorated the Kearney Opera house for nearly 20 years.

front page of "Caring for Paintings" guide with new History Nebraska Logo

The History Nebraska Conservation Division has a new name, new look, and new ways to help you preserve your own collections.

Before treatment photo showing pencil drawing with multiple tears and soot damage

When a fire damaged Lila Vamosi's drawing "The Artist," she turned to our Gerald Ford Conservation Center to restore it. Although it still shows some scars, they now serve to tell a new story.

The treatment of the Creighton Side Saddle included many different types of materials, a variety of repair methods, and over 100 hours to complete!  Some of the most challenging treatments included the saddle blanket and the seat.  If you haven't read the first two blog posts about the side saddle, including the saddle's history and the rest of the treatment, you can read them here and

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