Wicked Local: Stories in Time: Preserving Cape Ann's Treasures

May 28, 2020

Cape Ann Beacon
By Cape Ann Museum

Stories in Time is an occasional series from the Cape Ann Museum’s curators and archivists.

May is Historic Preservation Month and the Cape Ann Museum salutes all those who help safeguard and preserve the treasures that make our communities so unique. While recognizing the many individuals and organizations who care for historic structures in our neighborhoods, this month’s focus is more than just that. It is about acknowledging those who preserve open space and scenic vistas, those who spend hours researching and documenting local history for the benefit of future generations, and those who refuse to give up on an old building simply because it has seen better days.

The Cape Ann Museum is in the business of preserving things, year in and year out. Fragile paper documents and early glass plate negatives, paintings and sculpture, textiles and furniture, and yes, historic structures. Often our work goes unnoticed by the public, so on occasion we enjoy spotlighting our efforts. Two items from our collection, which have recently undergone conservation treatment, are shown here.

FITZ HENRY LANE (1804-1865). View of Norwich, Conn., 1849. Chromolithograph on paper. Gift of Edward L. Stone, 1972 [#2067]. Funding for the conservation of this work was provided by Wendy Shadwell Bequest’s to the American Historical Print Collectors Society.

The first item is a chromolithograph by Fitz Henry Lane (1804-1865) which had been suffering from heavy discoloration and staining when it was sent to a paper conservator. The inset image shows a split-screen view showing, from left to right, the piece before and after conservation.

KATHARINE LANE WEEMS (1899-1989). Doe and Fawn, 1927. Painted plaster. Gift of the estate of Walker Hancock, 2001 [#2001.27.14]

The second item is a small sculpture by Katharine Lane Weems (1899-1989), which hadn’t been displayed in over a decade due to some damage to the fawn’s leg. The break was mended the break earlier this year, and now the piece is back in rotation, most recently featured in our current exhibition “Odds Were Against Me,” alongside other works by Weems.

To stay connected with the Cape Ann Museum’s new virtual outreach visit www.capeannmuseum.org where you can subscribe to the weekly newsletter as well as discover links to previously released content.


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