Civil War Collection 

Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission


Partial Array of PHMC's Civil War CollectionIn 2008, Pennsylvania Governor Edward G. Rendell requested that the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC) form a committee on behalf of the commemoration for the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. This partnership of major history organizations consisted of the PHMC and the Pennsylvania Heritage Society (PHS). Together they formed the Pennsylvania Civil War 150 (PACW 150) and established their mission to coordinate several key statewide initiatives, as well as facilitate and help market numerous activities and events at the regional and local levels. Their goal is to leverage the considerable strengths of the state’s history and museum community in an effort to bring quality programming to the commemoration. B.R. Howard & Associates was subsequently contacted by the PHMC to provide conservation treatment to a large exhibit planned for display as part of the commemoration activities.



Disassembly to stabilize surface corrosion of metal components These objects, part of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s 150th year anniversary commemoration of the Civil War, were transferred to the studios B.R. Howard & Associates in preparation for their potential exhibit. The collection was of various objects that included, but was not limited to swords, sabers, uniforms, rifles, and musical instruments. Additionally, these various objects were in assorted conditions that required different methods and procedures of conservation treatment. Each object, however, was thoroughly inspected and photo documented. These in depth inspections were then formatted into a condition report that was provided to the PHMC for treatment approval.



Colonel Matthew's presentation swordThe treatment of these objects covered a wide range of mediums and conservation procedures. However, every object was thoroughly cleaned using the most current conservation procedures, material, and solutions. Areas of active corrosion were abated and consolidated. Tarnished silver, nickel, gold, or brass components were polished appropriately and sealed with a protective lacquer. Textiles were cleaned, repaired, or replicated as approved by the PHMC curatorial staff. Organic materials such as leather and other hides were cleaned, re-humidified, and reshaped as necessary. If the object and material permitted, once treatment was completed, fully reversible clear resins were applied as a protective barrier against future deterioration. Once treatment had been completed, each individual object was documented and returned to the PHMC with a treatment report specifying the exact procedures used for its conservation.


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