WALLPAPER CONSERVATION AT THE LONGFELLOW NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE: PARLOR AND DINING ROOM
Elizabeth Kaiser Schulte
THEin situ treatment detailed above stabilized the wallpapers and improved their appearance. Because of the treatment, it was possible to retain the wallpaper as an integral part of the house, and in this respect, the treatment was quite successful.
The parlor paper was the more deteriorated of the two papers. Deterioration, especially that caused by staining and soiling, was so advanced by the onset of treatment that irreversible damage had occurred. The main goal with this room was to preserve the paper as much as possible. That goal was attained. From an aesthetic viewpoint, the appearance of the paper also was improved. However, this improvement can only be termed comparative. It still remained quite discolored, lacking its original crispness. The visual improvement of the dining room paper after treatment was more pronounced.
The treatment was accomplished during an eight-week period by three full time conservators. Members of the curatorial staff, acting in a paraprofessional capacity, assisted with various steps. It was feasible to integrate such work with the operation of the house without total disruption. Except when using solvents, the two rooms were open for tours during this time, in part to inform the public about the conservation effort.
In situ treatment proved to be a practical way to address the problem of six hundred square feet of deteriorated wallpaper, to make it exhibitable without an exorbitant expenditure of time or money.
I WISH TO THANK Anne Clapp for her guidance and the staff of the Longfellow National Historic Site, especially Kathy Catalano for her assistance and great interest in this project.