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CURRENT COLUMN

Why Paper Discolours (Part 2)
Why Paper Discolours (Part 2)

Why Paper Discolours (Part 1)
Why Paper Discolours (Part 1)

Mending a Tear in an Aboriginal Drum
Mending a Tear in an Aboriginal Drum

Distortions and Dimensional Changes
in Paper (Part 3)
Distortions and Dimensional Changes
in Paper (Part 3)


Distortions and Dimensional Changes
in Paper (Part 2)


Distortions and Dimensional Changes
in Paper (Part 1)

After treatment
Oscar Cahén: Innovative Conservation
for an Innovative Artist

Structural
Rigid Water Gels: New Treatment Options for Paper Conservators

Structural
Structural Remedies for Canvas Paintings

Digital
Organizing and Preserving Collections - Part 4: Digital-based Material

Photos
Organizing and Preserving Collections - Part 3: Photo-based Material

Organizing and Preserving Collections - Part 2: Paper-based Material

First Steps
Organizing and Preserving Collections - Part 1: The First Steps

Natural Dyes
The Use of Natural Dyes in Textile Conservation

Butterfly
A Relocation Project

Challenges of Preserving Contemporary Artwork

Preserve Your Investment through Art Conservation

A Project Completed: Heritage Preserved

Old and New Methods for Cleaning Paintings

I Can See Clearly Now – Or Can I? Part 2

I Can See Clearly Now – Or Can I?

The E.J. Hughes Mural: An Expanded Project

Is She or Is She Not an Emily

Treating Art with Sensitive Media

Malaspina Mural: An Update

For the Artist: Testing Your Materials

Conservator as Art Historian

Alum Sizing and the Art of W.J. Phillips

Treatment of an Elizabeth Keith Wood Block Print

Structural Treatment of an Emily Carr

The Treatment of a Monumental Wall Hanging

Changing Images

Preserving a Rare Record

Gold Leaf: Imitation and Genuine

The Case Against Canvas Backings

Heritage Colours: Research Discovers Original Colours

Lighting Your Art: Balancing Seeing and Protecting

The Double-Sided Emily Carr Painting

Choosing a Period Picture Frame

How to Identify a Picture Frame

Stretching Canvas and Restretching Artwork

Mounting Textiles

Aging Paintings:
Some Causes and Effects

Chine Collé Prints

What's Your Favourite Color?

Backing Removals

Rips, Holes and Tears

Filling in the Gaps

DIY – Preventative Care of Paintings

Frame it Right

Fire, Water and Smoke-Damaged Paintings

Inherent Vice

Saturated Problems:
A Water-Damaged Painting

Moldy Paper

Conserving Time

Conserving Paper: Dos and Don'ts

Repair of Textiles

Conserving Wood

Rescuing Endangered Murals

Repairing Acid-Matte Burn

Art Services & Materials
Exhibition Openings & Events


Conservation Corner Back

Malaspina Mural, an Update

by Cheryle Harrison
conserv1@telus.net

Nearly 12 years have elapsed since the emergency removal of five large murals was undertaken prior to the demolition of the historic waterfront Malaspina Hotel in Nanaimo, British Columbia. The representative piece of this collection of rescued murals, Captain Malaspina Sketching the Galleries of Gabriola, was painted in 1938, by the renowned artist, Edward J. Hughes.

E.J. Hughes mural

E.J. Hughes mural prior to removal from Malaspina Hotel. Wood stud attached to front of mural.

This large mural depicts a number of figures gathered along a shoreline to study naturally formed sandstone galleries. Due to the size of the mural, 2.75 x 5.2 x .216 metres (9 x 17 x 0.71 feet), and to other considerations, this mural was removed from the hotel in sections, weighing nearly 20,000 lbs.

After many unsuccessful attempts to display this culturally significant mural, an ideal project site at the newly constructed Nanaimo Conference Centre, along with adequate public art funding, and the enthusiastic support of the City of Nanaimo, presented itself. Still, it required public outcry, national radio coverage, newspaper articles, and declarations submitted by respected art historians, collectors, cultural groups, plus, two city council meetings, to achieve approval for the mural's conservation and installation into its new home.

This mural project combines the expertise of two specialists: myself as the conservator and concrete structural expert, Rory Le Brocq, of Cancor Cutting. The conservation and preparation of this mural for its installation into the Conference Centre is presently underway.

The conservation treatment includes the repair of pre-existing nail holes, structural cracks, paint loss, damage from an earlier boiler explosion, and the results of years of use, environment, and age. Additional repairs are required as the mural sections were moved and stored in a number of locations, and were subjected to freezing temperatures and wet conditions. After conservation is completed, the murals will be secured within a custom metal framework and hanging armature, followed by installation at the Conference Centre site.

The conservation and installation of E.J. Hughes' mural, completes the cycle of a preservation project, and serves to illustrate the patience and commitment required to safeguard our heritage. It is essential that our culture exists as more than mere photographs or pages within a book. We need our history to surround us, and to lend value and inspiration to our everyday lives.

Conservator Cheryle Harrison, and concrete specialist Rory Le Brocq

Conservator Cheryle Harrison, and concrete specialist Rory Le Brocq at the conservation worksite.

Previously: For the Artist: Testing Your Materials
Next issue: The Collaborative Emily Carr Project

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 Wed, Apr 2, 2008