'Endangered' treasures in Western Pa. museums need public's help
Two Pittsburgh-area museums have items named among the state's Top 10 Endangered Artifacts list, and you can help them through online voting, sharing and donating.
Old Economy Village's handmade, ceremonial coat and cap that belonged to founder George Rapp, along with the Carnegie Museum of Art's film archive of Pittsburgh's African-American community, made the Top 10 list out of 60 submissions. The six-week campaign, a statewide initiative from the Philadelphia-based Conservation Center for Art & Historic Artifacts, aims to promote nonprofit crowdfunding for items that illustrate important parts of history and need restoration.
Lulu Lippincott, curator of fine arts for the Carnegie, says it will cost some $20,000 to restore the collection of footage from photographer Charles “Teenie” Harris, which currently sits in original boxes in an archive. The museum wants to restore the hard-copy images from the 16-millimeter films made in the '30s and '40s and create digital prints for the website.
“The process to stop deterioration is expensive,” she says. “We're just delighted” to be chosen for the list.
Old Economy's maroon, velvet and silk garment set will cost about $5,000 to restore in a painstaking professional process, says village curator Sarah Buffington, who nominated the clothing for the list.
“I never thought we'd win anything,” she says. The coat “hasn't been on display in quite a while because it's in bad condition. The lining is really shot … and the seams of the coat are falling out. It's in really bad shape.”
The soft cap isn't faring much better — it's lining is shredded, Buffington says.
The hope is to restore the coat and cap for a new textile exhibit set to open on Mother's Day weekend in 2014.
Top 10 items also include historic manuscripts, books, 18th-century butterfly specimens and a congressional wig.
“Our goal with this campaign is to showcase the state's historic treasures and the need to preserve and protect our heritage for future generations,” says Ingrid Bogel, executive director of the conservation center. “We've created this program to give institutions a new platform through which to share their stories and to give people a chance to show their support by voting as many times as they'd like, sharing their favorite artifacts with friends through social media and supporting the conservation of these artifacts with online donations.”
Kellie B. Gormly is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-320-7824.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.