Conservation in action
Historic Windows Saved.
Thanks to the Minnesota Legacy Fund, in particular the MN Historical and Cultural Heritage Grants, our main staircase windows have been stabilized. These windows are one of our iconic decorative arts elements of the mansion and have been enjoyed by visitors and the Congdons since Glensheen opened in 1909.
Sigh of relief…
Now generations to come will be able to see the window in all of its glory. For many of us who have worked at Glensheen, it was one of the items many of us worried about collapsing. If you had seen it, the center of the window had bowed intensely. In fact the center shield at some point most likely cracked because of the destabilization of the metalwork.
How do you eat an elephant.
Many times people ask how will you go about fixing all of the needs of Glensheen. The answer is one bite at a time. Once you realize that, the task doesn’t seem so daunting. In recent years we have taken some big bits, but also some smaller ones like this. Sometimes these smaller bits are more publicly impressive and frankly rewarding.
How did it get fixed?
Our chief grant writer, Amanda Denton, also Glensheen’s business manager, worked with our Collections Manager, Milissa Brooks Ojibway to write a grant to stabilize the window. So these two deserve a round of applause for their work. Without them, this would not have happened.
How did it get fixed again?
Once the funds were in place the window was taken down from its perch for the first time in a hundred years. For those who have not witnessed the removal of a glass window it is not for the faint of heart. It is a much rougher task than you would imagine. I myself can not be around when it takes place.
Who did it?
We hired professional conservators from the Midwest Art Conservation Center (MACC) based out of Minneapolis. They have done a fair amount of work for us prior, so we have established a decent amount of trust already. Once the window was removed it was transported to their conservation lab, which is located in the basement of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. Here are some photos of the work in progress. Thanks to MACC’s facebook account for the photos.
Caption from their facebook post:
“MACC objects lab recently worked with Gillian Thompson, an expert in stained glass restoration, to conserve a set of art glass windows from Glensheen. Conservation was necessary to flatten the windows which had become bowed or distorted over time. Objects Fellow Stephanie Cashman worked alongside Gillian as they removed deteriorated grout from around the individual pieces of glass; used weight to slowly flatten the windows; repaired broken lead and zinc came with solder; applied new grout overall; and cleaned the glass. The windows were also reset within their original wood sashes. This process takes many hours of hard work and patience but, as always, it is well worth the effort as the result is a stable, flat, and sparkling window!”
Once the work was complete it was time to reinstall. Once again, I made sure to not be around. Our Collections Manager and housekeeping staff were hand in case of emergencies and it is thanks to them we have photographs of the event.
Here are the completed photos.
So once again, hurray for Conservation.
This is a great example of how when you give to Glensheen, your dollars go towards restoration efforts that will be seen and enjoyed for another 100 years. Thanks to all who made this possible last years.
Now onto the next two windows. And the big project for this year. The Stucco of the Carriage House.