Adopt an Artifact

These objects are in need of adoption - can you help?


ELIZABETH BULL PRICE MOURNING EARRINGS

When her partner of twenty-seven years died suddenly in England, Elizabeth Bull Price put on a brave face - and these earrings.

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EMBROIDERED MAP OF BOSTON

In the eighteenth-century, school projects were elegant works of art.

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More information on these objects coming soon! Can't wait? Send us an email.

Adopted!


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Liberty Tree Flag, after 1767
Conservation sponsored by Rose Downes. Work will be performed by textile conservator Joanna Hill.

 


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The Old Feather Store, Dock Square by Taylor Buzzell, oil on canvas, c. 1870-1881
Conservation sponsored by Robert Bayard Severy, in memory of Harriet Ropes Cabot. Work performed by painting conservators Theresa Carmichael and Geraldine Brooks.

 


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Daniel Webster by Bass Otis after G.P.A. Healy, oil on Canvas, 19th century
Conservation sponsored by Robert Gold and Susan Sprecher Gold. Work performed by painting conservators Theresa Carmichael and Geraldine Brooks.

 


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Thompson's Island , artist unknown, oil on canvas, c. 1880-1920
Conservation sponsored by Robert Bayard Severy, in memory of Robert Pease Severy. Work performed by painting conservators Theresa Carmichael and Geraldine Brooks.

 


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Rear of the Old Ruin and Tremere House, by Susan Minot Lane , oil on canvas, 1888
Conservation sponsored by Robert Bayard Severy, in memory of Josephine McClintock Bellamy Severy. Work performed by painting conservators Theresa Carmichael and Geraldine Brooks.

 

Frequently Asked Questions about Conservation

What is a conservator?

A conservator is like a doctor for artwork and artifacts. Conservators undergo years of training in chemistry, art history, and hands-on artifact care. Conservators usually specialize in a particular kind of object, like textiles, furniture, or paintings. When they work on an object, their goal is to stabilize and protect the object from further deterioration over time. Whenever possible, they try to make sure that whatever they do to an object is reversible, to protect the object's historical and artistic integrity, and in case better conservation methods are developed in the future.

How did your paintings get so dirty?

Years of poor environmental conditions in the Old State House, including a coal-burning furnace, improperly-sealed windows that let in pollutants from the subway underneath the building, and a 1921 fire, took their toll on many artifacts in the Bostonian Society's collection. The good news is that a 1992 renovation to the building introduced much-needed environmental controls-including a modern HVAC system-to minimize further damage. The bad news is that cleaning the residual soot and grime can be time-consuming and costly.

How can I take care of my own treasured objects?

Keep your objects in a stable environment-no extreme changes in temperature and humidity; no basements and no attics. Keep them away from direct sunlight. Store or frame your treasures using archival materials. For more information on specific types of artifacts, consult the following links:

American Institute for Conservation - Caring for Your Treasures series


Northeast Document Conservation Center - FAQs for books, papers, and photographs


Canadian Conservation Institute - Caring for: Collections


Benson Ford Research Center - Caring for your artifacts


How can I find a conservator in my area? The American Institute for Conservation website provides a national conservator referral service, as well as guidelines for choosing a conservator.

How can I help? To adopt an artifact in the Bostonian Society's collection by sponsoring vital conservation treatment, email Patricia Gilrein, Collections Manager, or call 617-720-1713 x23.