2018 conservation projects at the Avenir Museum

Story by Doreen Beard

Two grants from generous donors are funding conservation projects at the Avenir Museum this year.

Sampler restoration

The Avenir Museum has been awarded $1,000 from the Sampler Guild of the Rockies for the restoration and conservation of the Catharine R. Adan Sampler of 1802 (Avenir Museum #2015.10.001). This award is provided to institutions that curate historic needlework in alignment with the purpose of the Sampler Guild of the Rockies, which studies the history and composition of samplers from around the world and donates money to assist in their preservation. The Avenir Museum award is especially exciting to the Sampler Guild’s board members, since the museum is located in Colorado and utilizes the collection for teaching purposes.

silk embroidered on linenCollections Manager Megan Osborne and Curator Katie Knowles identified the Catharine Adan sampler as the one from the Avenir Museum collection that would most benefit from professional examination, stabilization, and possibly also framing. It has several wonderful alphabet letters in different sized fonts and colors along with several rows of practice in various stitches. It was made by Catharine R. Adan, aged 7 years, in 1802, and looks to be silk embroidered on linen. Osborne and Knowles are currently making arrangements with a textile conservator in Denver who is familiar with historic samplers to examine the present condition of young Catharine Adan’s needlework and to propose a formal treatment plan.

Blackwell portrait

Portrait of Blackwell
Portrait of Richard Blackwell

The Avenir Museum is also most appreciative of an award from The Greenwood Fund of The Denver Foundation, which has contributed $1,000 toward the 2018 conservation of the 1968 oil portrait “Mr. Blackwell’s Hollywood.” The large portrait currently greets museum patrons as they enter The Richard Blackwell Gallery. When the Avenir received the portrait from the Blackwell-Spencer estate some years back, a scrape in the surface paint was already extant (although there is no damage to the canvas substrate). The award from The Greenwood Fund of The Denver Foundation will help fund the professional fine art conservation services required to address this surface blemish, as well as provide some cleaning attention to restore the portrait’s overall presentation on the 50th anniversary of its creation. The treatment plan has already been identified and approved for “Mr. Blackwell’s Hollywood,” so this Avenir Museum asset too will be traveling to Denver shortly for professional conservation services.

Both conservation projects are slated for completion by late summer 2018. Thank you to the Sampler Guild of the Rockies and to The Greenwood Fund of The Denver Foundation for your investments in CSU’s Avenir Museum of Design and Merchandising!

The Avenir Museum is part of the Department of Design and Merchandising in CSU’s College of Health and Human Sciences.