Friday, May 27, 2011

A Case for Conservation

From our most recent Newsletter-
Featured Artifact: 1854 pencil-on-paper sketch of Isaac Newtown Eddy’s burial site. This article is a follow up to the one which appeared in our last Piece of History written by our guest columnist Paul Schneider, Independent Historian.
For a quick reminder I have inserted a section of his article-

Dating from late 1854 this sketch was drawn by a sailor named Walter A. Kizar, a former crew member of the schooner Eleanor, on which Thomas Jefferson Eddy’s oldest son, Isaac Newton Eddy, briefly served until his early death, at age 19, thousands of miles from home.
In pursuit of the truth of his son’s disappearance from Waterford in 1853, Thomas traveled to Salem, Massachusetts to talk with the Captain of the Eleanor. In a letter dated November 1854 he recounts the origin of the sketch:
“...he [Benjamin Swasey, Captain of the Eleanor] introduced me to a young man, Walter A Kizar ….He is very good at drawing and made me a sketch of Comoro, the tree where Newton and Allen [another sailor] were buried, how their graves are located as described by Captain Swasey.”
Kizar promised to send Thomas a more complete sketch; this is the one believed to now be in the museum’s collections. When Thomas returned to Waterford, he commissioned local artist Ralph A. Savage to memorialize his son’s final resting place through the creation of a painting based on the details provided in Kizar’s sketch. The painting survives today in the collections of the Albany Institute of History and Art, but the sketch from which that painting was done was never mentioned again and was presumed lost—until I opened that folded piece of paper in 2010!

Paul ended the article by saying that we had arranged for a conservator to view the sketch and provide us with an estimate to have it conserved and properly mounted for viewing and storage. We did just that and we have a treatment proposal for this wonderful treasure.
The treatment proposal includes: minor surface cleaning; humidification to flatten the piece; structural repairs; mounting and preservation framing. The new frame will be a UV filtering acrylic box that will allow viewing of the front and back while providing the safest environment possible to help ensure the longevity of the sketch for future generations.
The total cost for all of this work is only $500. We are looking for a sponsor or sponsors to help fund this project– to save a true piece of Waterford’s history.
If you would like to donate toward our Conservation Fund, please send a check or money order to the Waterford Museum, Conservation Fund, 2 Museum Lane, Waterford, N.Y.

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