By Andrea Marroquin, JIA Museum Curator
Mosaic, Jekyll Island Museum has launched an artifact conservation program, dedicated to ensuring the long-term care of collections. The goal of the program is to stabilize collection pieces and preserve them for the future. Several recent conservation projects are currently on display and can be enjoyed by guests of the Mosaic.
Have you seen the “ghost tools” on display in the museum’s exhibit gallery? Two tools recovered from Horton House, a planters’ hoe blade and a small trade axe dating from the 1700s to mid-1800s, were actively corroding. The iron objects were cleaned and stabilized to halt their deterioration, and then carefully mounted in front of a transparent background. When viewed from a certain angle, missing portions of the tools become visible.
Museum staff consulted with an art conservator to clean and stabilize a 1931 oil painting by Warren Sheppard depicting the slave ship Wanderer. Treatment involved cleaning the painting, consolidating loose paint, addressing paint loss, and replacing a protective varnish. This project enabled the painting to be placed on exhibit for the first time in decades, as part of the museum’s efforts to share the story of the Wanderer Survivors with the public.
Recently, museum staff brought a circa 1890 carriage out of storage and gave it a gentle cleaning, leather treatment, and fumigation. The carriage was placed on display in the Mosaic lobby as part of “In the Service of Others” – an exhibit detailing the African American community’s vital role in the development of the Jekyll Island Club. In the exhibit, the carriage highlights the story of Charlie Hill, a long-time coachman and caretaker for the Maurice family, who worked on the island for more than five decades.
This year, Jekyll Island also celebrates the 100th Anniversary of Faith Chapel’s Tiffany window. In recognition of the landmark moment, and with a grant from the Friends of Historic Jekyll Island, art glass conservators investigated the needs for the stained-glass window’s ongoing care and preservation. They are currently developing recommendations for conserving this art glass masterpiece for the future.
Stay tuned for more updates highlighting the museum’s continuing efforts to preserve the past. If you would like to provide support for these type of collections projects, text JekyllMosaic + any donation amount to (844) 889-2692.