Plaster & Wallpaper Conservation at The Lower East Side Tenement Museum

Event Pass Information

Event Pass Type
Student with Valid IDFREE
General Public$10.00 USD

Event Details

The Lower East Side Tenement Museum is in a five-story brick tenement located at 97 Orchard Street in New York City. Between its construction in 1863 and closure in 1935, nearly 7,000 people from over 20 countries lived in the tiny apartments. The building remained uninhabited until 1988 when the museum was founded. These apartments became a time capsule of immigrant life in America. The museum is unique in its interpretation of the building and occupants, and its treatment of the ruined apartments in a state of “arrested decay.”

In this presentation, Stephanie M. Hoagland from Jablonski Building Conservation will discuss the variety of conservation methods used for both the museum's multiple layers of torn, curled, sagging, and stained wallpaper as well as the plaster supporting it, which was cracked, crumbling, and displaced. Together these conditions could easily mean the loss of historic fabric critical to the interpretation of the museum. The conservation methods for wallpaper have evolved over time and have ranged from mechanical interventions like acrylic washers to conservation grade adhesives. The consolidation of the plaster substrate has led to further complications, such as how to deal with the heavy staining caused by conservation materials. This presentation will discuss the numerous technical challenges and philosophical issues behind stabilization and conservation of these vernacular finishes, including if they should even be preserved.

Stephanie M. Hoagland, Principal, Senior Conservator, Jablonski Building Conservation, Inc. (JBC)

About the Speakers:
Stephanie Hoagland joined JBC in 2003 and works with a wide range of clients with a focus on condition assessments and finishes investigations as well as hands-on conservation treatments for stone, wallpaper, paint, and plaster. Hoagland's innovative work on wallpaper treatments in historic museums has been presented at several conferences and has been published through the Book and Paper Specialty Group of the American Institute for Conservation (AIC). She has also delivered papers and published articles on decorative finishes, vernacular and post-war architecture, cemetery conservation, and the impact of heat on architectural finishes. She recently completed testing and presented the findings on the freeze-thaw durability of commonly used restoration mortars. In addition to being a Fellow of and past Chair of the Architecture Specialty Group of AIC, she is also a Recognized Professional with the Association for Preservation Technology.