May is Preservation Month, and the Alamo is giving the public an inside look into the preservation work taking place on the iconic Church and Long Barrack with a new tour, The Past Revealed. Inspired by the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s #ThisPlaceMatters campaign, The Past Revealed reminds visitors why we remember the Alamo and why #ThisPlaceMatters.
Recent visitors to the Alamo have noticed lifts and other equipment on-site near the walls of the Church and Long Barrack, as the preservation team conducts conservation work like IR scans and multi-spectral imaging.
“We are taking IR images of the walls, which is a non-destructive method of detecting moisture, salts and voids in the walls,” Alamo Conservator Pam Jary Rosser said. “These images will enable the preservation team to see what is going on inside the walls. The multi-spectral imaging helps us determine the shape of the invisible flower located on the tips of the unseen floral motif located on the upper walls of the Sacristy,” Rosser added.
The Past Revealed is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, where visitors will see the 300-year-old painted frescoes appear almost out of nowhere, visible only with state-of-the-art equipment. Impossible to see with the unaided eye, the frescoes inside the Sacristy date back to the 1700’s, when the Church and Long Barrack were built. This is important because the frescoes may shed light on what life was like at the Alamo well before the famous battle in 1836.
“When we illuminate the walls with high-wattage blacklight, we truly see the past revealed,” Pam Rosser said. “Nearly-hidden frescoes masterfully crafted by artisans who lived and died right here — you feel something; you feel a connection to that past, to that history. It’s incredible.”
Tour-goers will have the chance to talk about the Alamo’s past, present and future preservation work with Rosser and with Alamo Archaeologist Kristi Nichols during the tour.
The Past Revealed is running exclusively in May for Preservation Month. Tours run from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on May 9, 16, and 23. Visitors can register here. Tickets cost $40.
To help the Alamo celebrate Preservation Month, visitors are encouraged to follow the @OfficialAlamo on social media and to use #PreservationMonth, #ThisPlaceMatters and #HistoryHappensHere when visiting.