Restoration of Sargent’s “Landing of the Pilgrims” Has Begun!

Scaffolding goes up

The scaffolding goes up

Today at Pilgrim Hall Museum, Olin Associates commenced what will be a three-month project of restoring Henry Sargent’s monumental painting, “Landing of the Pilgrims.” The painting has been the centerpiece of Pilgrim Hall Museum since the building opened in 1824. It will be the largest painting restoration project to take place in the South Shore region.

The first step in the process–carefully removing the enormous painting from the wall and separating it from its frame–was accomplished today. All work is being overseen by Olin Associates’ Chief Conservator, David Olin, who is renowned for his work on the some of the largest and most historic paintings in the country, including portraits of Founding Fathers at the Smithsonian Museum and huge murals in the nation’s Capitol.

The painting, freed from the wall, begins to be lowered

The painting, freed from the wall, begins to be lowered

The project will be conducted almost entirely onsite, presenting a unique opportunity for museum visitors to see a major art restoration project in action. In late April through the first week in May, the painting will be off-site for lining at the conservator’s studios. When it returns in early May, the painstaking work of cleaning and in-painting will commence, all in public view.

Interpretive programming and lectures on the project are in the works. Stay tuned for details. And drop by soon to see for yourself!

Placed in its enormous "easel" with scaffolding set to allow access, the painting is ready for stabilization and cleaning

Placed in its enormous “easel” with scaffolding set to allow access, the painting is ready for stabilization and cleaning

The project is being documented and filmed in a variety of ways. Both real-time and time-lapse videos will soon be posted online.

Learn more in the following media articles:

From the Old Colony Memorial, “Restoration Work to Begin on ‘Landing of the Pilgrims'”

From the Patriot Ledger“Painting Restoration Benefits Pilgrim Hall Museum Visitors”

From Boston Globe South, “Historic Plymouth Painting to Undergo Restoration”

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