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Sunday, May 15 • 4:30pm - 5:00pm
(Objects + Architecture) Red Flames, Silver Linings

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On a hot Saturday afternoon in August, 2009, a fire was started accidentally at the Ropes Mansion, an 18th century historic house owned by the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) in Salem, Massachusetts. The fire threatened not only the structure but the accumulated possessions the Ropes family members had used and stored in the house over many generations. Many first responders, museum staff and contractors were mobilized to immediately respond to the fire. In the first of a two-part presentation, PEM's response on the day of the fire will be examined, its preparedness scrutinized, the many challenges and strokes of luck catalogued. The second presentation will detail the complexities of recovering from the fire, from the immediate triage to the long term treatments, necessitating a conservation project to be undertaken by a range of specialists. The scope of conservation work ultimately grew to encompass the entire contents of the house - nearly 1,000 objects - as a new interpretation strategy for the house was developed. As the house was reinstalled, a team of collection specialists was mobilized to track, move and install everything from four-poster beds to tiny doll house spoons. Specific treatments will be reviewed in the context of the collaborative recovery effort that culminated in the May, 2015 re-opening of the Ropes Mansion to the public. Ultimately, the immediate response to respond to the fire and the lengthy process to recover from it helped teach PEM valuable lessons about disaster preparedness.

avatar for Mimi Leveque

Mimi Leveque

Conservator, Peabody Essex Museum
Mimi Leveque is a conservator of objects and textiles with a special interest in archaeological materials, in particular ancient Egyptian artifacts. She has worked for over 30 years on the examination and conservation of Egyptian mummies and coffins. She has also conducted experiments to replicate ancient Egyptian faience and cartonnage. Mimi is currently the Conservator of objects at the Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA. She has previously worked... Read More →
avatar for Eric Wolin

Eric Wolin

Head of Collection Management, Peabody Essex Museum


Angela Breeden

Move Coordinator, Peabody Essex Museum
Not Provided

Sunday May 15, 2016 4:30pm - 5:00pm
Room 710 B

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