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Sunday, May 15 • 3:00pm - 3:30pm
(Wooden Artifacts) A Ghost of the Civil War: A Man, a Flag, and a Frame

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For decades people walked through the basement of the Lowell Memorial Auditorium in Massachusetts and never noticed the big, dirty frame propped against a piano. Then in January, 2014, two employees stopped, looked, and called the Greater Lowell Veterans Council to tell them that they had found something extraordinary―a tattered flag encased in an elaborately carved frame. Decipherable on the inner frame was an inscription reading, “Under this flag at Clinton, La., on June 3, 1863, Solon A. Perkins was killed.” Perkins, according to the bronze plaques upstairs in the Hall of Flags, was one of nearly 500 men from Lowell who died in the Civil War. Wooden artifacts conservator Melissa Carr took delivery of the frame and began the process of cleaning, stabilization, and compensation for lost elements. Camille Myers Breeze received the flag, which lay beneath the brittle glass and was glued and sewn to a sheet of century-old cardboard. Both the flag and the frame had damage caused by use, time, neglect, previous mounting campaigns, and souvenir hunters. At each step of the project, members of the board of the Greater Lowell Veterans Council collaborated with insight and decisiveness about levels of restoration. On May 31, 2015, the frame and flag were reunited and unveiled in the Hall of Flags to an audience of veterans and civilians. What had appeared at first to be a case of woeful neglect was, in fact, the rediscovery of a legacy of preservation, respect, and civic pride for a man and the flag with which he died.

avatar for Camille Myers Breeze-[Fellow]

Camille Myers Breeze-[Fellow]

Director & Chief Conservator, Museum Textile Services
Camille Myers Breeze began her textile conservation career in 1989 at the Textile Conservation Workshop in South Salem, New York. After earning a BA in Art History from Oberlin College, she received an MA in Museum Studies: Costume and Textiles Conservation from the State University... Read More →

Melissa H. Carr

Masterwork Conservation
Melissa Carr trained as a chemist and cabinetmaker before completing her graduate work in the Furniture Conservation Training Program at the Smithsonian Institution’s Conservation Analytical Laboratory. She has also studied at the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties... Read More →

Sunday May 15, 2016 3:00pm - 3:30pm EDT
Room 514