On a steamy August day last summer, MTS Director Camille Myers Breeze met with representatives of the Greater Lowell Veterans Council inside the cavernous Lowell Memorial Arena. On a table lay a venerable Civil War flag, discovered the previous January in a forgotten corner of the basement. Camille was interviewed by Grant Welker in his January Lowell Sun article, From Ragged Glory, a Piece of Lowell Civil War History Unfurled, and the day had finally arrived to transfer the flag to the hands of a conservator.
Together the team carefully removed the heavy oak frame, followed by a green- and gold-painted inner frame, both hand carved in the early 20th century. Beneath the glass lay a sheet of century-old cardboard to which the flag was glued and sewn. It is tempting to point out how the combination of sunlight and acidity have bleached the silk to shreds, but had the flag never been framed and exhibited for generations of Lowell visitors to see, it could very well have turned to dust by now.
Over the next few weeks, we will outline our conservation strategy, walk you through the creative problem-solving solutions we came up with, discuss the client's preference for a "restoration," and share the amazing history of this historic artifact.