By Camille Myers Breeze
This week we introduce a new blog theme featuring before and after images and histories of textiles we are treating. Let us know what you think!
In one of the earliest MTS Blogs, Sarah Berlinger introduced readers to the Olympic uniform of hockey player Gordon Smith. Mr. Smith is an alumnus of Middlesex School in Concord, Massachusetts, who are the owners of his prestigious garments. In the midst of the 2012 London Summer Olympics, we thought we'd show you the results of the conservation treatment.
Some highlights of this treatment include dying wool roving a matching shade of ecru and needle punching it to a cotton substrate. These patches were placed behind areas of loss and lightly needle punched to the coat to integrate. Although visually continuous, these patches can be removed in the future if necessary.
All of our display mounts were made of archival Ethafoam and polyester padding with a tan cotton/poly jersey as the show fabric.The deteriorated silk bow was removed from the hat and returned to the owner. A new bow was made from polyester ribbon (the cut edges were painted with archival adhesive to prevent unraveling.) One missing button was replaced with a similar button painted to match.
This project took a year to complete and was returned to Middlesex School in time to be displayed at the start of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games. You can learn more about conservation of sports memorabilia in the conservation section of the web site.
Many thanks to Middlesex School, Historic New England and the entire MTS conservation team, especially Sarah Berlinger, Cara Jordan, and Courtney Jason.
by Sarah Berlinger
"The most important thing is not to win but to take part!"
Coined by International Olympic Committee founder Pierre de Coubertin, this phrase has served as a motto of the Olympics since 1908. We at Museum Textile Services were very excited to receive several items of Olympic memorabilia for conservation from the Middlesex School in Concord, Massachusetts. An alumnus of the prep school, one Gordon Smith, donated his jacket, cap, and hockey pants from the 1932 Olympic Games to the school’s collection, and they have elected to have it conserved as an important piece of American Olympic history.
Gordon Smith was a member of the 1932 and 1936 United States Olympic ice hockey teams. The 1932 games, where these objects were used, took place in Lake Placid, New York. That year, the team won the silver medal. In the only game Smith played in that year, he scored a goal. In the 1936 games in Garmisch-Partenkirchen,Germany, the team earned the bronze medal. Smith played in all eight games, and also scored one goal that year. Undoubtedly, Gordon and his team believed in de Coubertin's maxim.
The objects submitted to MTS for conservation include the jacket and cap used during the Opening Ceremony and worn by athletes throughout the games, as well as a pair of hockey pants that were most likely worn during competition. The objects have piqued interest in the studio, as several of us are avid hockey fans. It has been wonderful to learn the history behind such unique and meaningful items in the Olympic History of the United States.
Click here to see an image of Smith and the U.S. ice hockey team from the 1936 Winter Games.