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Adams House
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Kalamazoo City Hall


Project Name:  Adams House, ca. 1892
Deadwood, South Dakota
Objectives:  Conservation of Decoratively Painted Walls and Ceilings.
Project Date:  October-November 1999
Materials:  Paint, Plaster

The Adams House, located in the Black Hills of Deadwood, South Dakota, was built by Harris Franklin in 1892 with money made in the liquor, cattle, gold mining & banking business. Following the Franklin family's tenure, the house was purchased by W.E. Adams, two-time mayor of Deadwood and wealthy grocer and banker. 

Much of the decoration was executed on fine canvas which required relaxing and reattachment. The goals of the finishes conservation were to repair damaged areas, stabilize the painted and glazed decoration, aesthetically improve the look and feel of the walls and ceilings, and create visual and contextual continuity of the finishes with areas that required replication

To accomplish the conservation goals, four types of treatment were employed: cleaning, injection reattachment of delaminated canvas, removal and re-adhesion of canvas, and the creation of exposure "windows" to display earlier strata of decorative painting.

A small amount of injection consolidation of plaster and then filling was also carried out in areas where cracking plaster had caused lifting, separating, and/or tearing of the canvas. Conservators also worked closely with the decorative painting firm Affiliated Artists on the segues between conserved and replicated areas of finish, and on colors, texture, materials, and the application of a conservation varnish applied over the conserved and replicated finishes.