About this project
B.R. Howard was contracted by the U.S. Army and Education Center to conserve their badly deteriorating bomber jacket. The jacket belonged to First Lieutenant Robert L. Aston of the 67th Bombardment Squadron 44th Bombardment, Group H, 8th Air Force. Lt. Aston served as a navigator onboard a B-24 Liberator Heavy Bomber. Over the course of his flight career, Lt. Aston flew 35 missions earning him the Distinguished Flying Cross with one Oak Leaf Cluster and an Air Medal with six Oak Leaf Clusters.
What we did
The jacket was transported to our studio for conservation. The exterior of surfaces were carefully cleaned using cotton swabs and aqueous cleaning solutions to reduce spewing oil and remove dirt and oily grime. The old surgical tape repairs and adhesive residue were carefully removed. The detached arm was aligned in its proper position and secured using reversible heat set fabric strips. Areas of missing leather were filled using small sections of vegetable-tanned cowhide. These leather inserts were secured onto polyester fabric backing material using the same heat setting material. All repairs made to the leather shell were then in-painted using a reversible in-painting palette. Metal components were cleaned and coated. Upon completing the stabilization and repair of the artifact, B.R. Howard & Associates textile conservator and mount makers designed and fabricated an exhibit case which incorporated a padded internal support structure and external cavity/pressure mount system. The combination case and mount allowed both sides of the jacket to be viewed and provide the needed support required to safely exhibit the flight jacket.