Pioneer Art and Murals


Here’s the intro video for the website on Pioneer Art Restoration (

Sorry we haven’t posted anything interesting lately. Some of my help graduated from school and moved on (interns). But an interesting conversation I had the other day was with a planning department that wants to protect and save murals next year. So we are making plans for assessments and testing. Its nice to know that the murals are part of the plans!

We’ll be in touch!

BTW, if you are interested in what you can do at home to protect and save family history items from damage in storage, mishandling or disasters you should take advantage of the 50% off price for my much acclaimed book, How To Save Your Stuff From A Disaster e-book edition (CLICK HERE). This last year it was a HUGE hit with the several companies of Daughters of Utah Pioneers I spoke to.

Also, leave your email in the side bar so you will know when I’ve updated the blog with interesting stories and adventures.

Mob violence and murder of Joseph Smith

Martyrdom of Joseph Smith at Carthage Jail

Art conservation questions? Call Scott M. Haskins 805 564 3438

Art appraisal questions? Call Richard Holgate at 805 895 5121

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Posted in General Info, Murals | Tagged , , | 7 Comments

Carl Christian Anton Christensen’s Well-Known Painting Restored


By Eleanor Nelson, Guest Blogger

Carl Christian Anton Christensen (1831-1912) was born in Copenhagen and joined the LDS church in 1850. After a mission to Norway (where he met future pioneer artist Dan Weggeland), he eventually settled in America, travelling to Utah with his wife as part of a Danish handcart company. He is beloved for his paintings illustrating the history and culture of the LDS church, and has been described as having done “more than any other person to capture the images of the history of the Mormon migration to Utah and the life lived there.” His many accomplishments included the paintings in the St George Temple and the Creation Room of the Manti Temple (art conservation treatments performed in 1983 by Scott M. Haskins). His best known work is the Mormon Panorama: a group of paintings, 7ft high and 13ft wide that now belong to BYU, that were sewn together at the ends and scrolled on spools to create a moving picture of the history of the church. Christensen travelled with this piece around Utah, Idaho and Wyoming, using it as a helpful teaching and story telling device. This series was also preserved and restored by Scott M. Haskins.

This wonderful painting, Welcoming Arriving Immigrants, shows immigrants arriving in Zion. It conveys the happy and welcoming spirit that Christensen felt about being part of God’s people. It was so well thought of that he made at least two other copies of the painting, one of which hangs in the Church Museum of Art of the LDS Church.

The painting was cleaned in 1981 and was in reasonably good condition. Light cracking over most of the surface was present but not causing any problems. It was, however, covered with a very discolored layer of varnish. When varnish yellows over time, a general color shift occurs throughout the painting: blues become greens; purples become browns. Contrast is usually reduced between the figures in the composition and so the painting takes on an overall flatter appearance.

Before the painting was cleaned, solubility tests were performed to check the sensitivity of the original colors to the solvents that might be used for dissolving the varnish. It is imperative when cleaning varnish off a painting that the original colors are not affected. Once the testing was completed, a custom mixture of solvent was formulated and the discolored varnish was removed, square inch by square inch with Q-tips and magnifying lenses.

During the removal process, it was quickly realized that there was a second layer of varnish underneath the first. This was also discolored, but much harder than the top layer, and was not removed during the cleaning process, partly due to budgetary constraints. Also, the dramatic improvement achieved by the removal of the first layer satisfied the client so no further work was done. This decision had no negative influence for the preservation of the painting. It received several layers of synthetic varnish, used in art conservation because it is easy to remove far into the future and does not yellow. Any time in the future a follow-up cleaning can be performed.

This painting is on exhibit in the conference room of the International Pioneer Museum in Salt Lake City.

Tips about what you can do at home to take care of your artwork and collectibles can be discovered in Scott M. Haskins’ book, How To Save Your Stuff From A Disaster. Click Here . 205 pages of tips, photos and instructions to help you take care of your family history items.

Questions about art conservation – restoration? Call Scott M. Haskins at 805 564 3438

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Posted in Paintings (easel) | Tagged | 1 Comment

Cody Mural Art Conservation Examination, Cody Wyoming


When you walk into the space where this mural is located it catches you a bit by surprise! You are surrounded by the story and emotions of the mural because it is painted on the wall of a small round room with a dome. The painting is 9’ tall from bottom up to the curvature of the dome… so add another 5 ft? It bends around 80’ of the circumference of the room. Painted in 1951 by non member of the LDS Church Edward T. Grigware, the style of the painting is a modern style utilized in the 40′s, 50′s and 60′s that has a lot to do with illustration art. You may recognize the style as similar to ads from that period and illustration from magazines. I like the style a lot and immediately saw a stylistic similarity with the famous “Purpose of Life” mural that was painted in 1963 for the New York World’s Fair and was an illustration used in Man’s Search for Happiness. I rescued that mural from the Hyde Park Chapel last year where massive renovation took place to prepare for the 2012 Olympics. The Purpose of Life mural is in our art conservation lab right now, being prepared for installation on the BYU Idaho Campus eventually. To see a quick video of that mural removal process go to

The Trust that oversees the maintenance and care of the famous and beloved Cody Mural in Cody, Wyoming is looking ahead at upgrading the systems (air conditioning, heating etc) in the Visitor’s Center. As a planning precaution, I was called to give them an art conservation professional evaluation of the condition of the mural, just in case the mural might prove to be too weak or have problems that would be impacted by the upgrades.

Well, good news to those who know and love this mural: 1) the mural is in great condition and 2) the Trust doesn’t want to put the mural in danger in any way.

While I was doing the evaluation, I took some photos and this is the short video review of my visit that I made:

I have been impressed at how many people far and wide know about this mural, love the subject of pioneer history and the history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and relate to how the mural tells the story of the sacrifices that the pioneers made in settling the West.

You’ll really enjoy the website that the visitor’s center has set up at

Also, you will be interested, perhaps, in the continuing development of the Church History Department’s website within the larger LDS Church website. Go see it at

If you would like to see other mural conservation – restoration projects we have been involved with see some of our very interesting videos on the youTube channel at

Art conservation questions? Call Scott M. Haskins 805 564 3438 or
Art appraisal questions? Call Richard Holgate at 805 895 5121 or

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Posted in Murals | Tagged | 17 Comments

1929 Mural to Saved From Demolition in Building Remodel in Idaho


While I was planning the work for the art conservation treatments of the murals in the Idaho Falls Mormon temple, I was asked by the LDS History Dept. to get info on a mural in a removed hillside town outside of Preston, Idaho. So, while we were returning to Salt Lake City after we were done in IF, we “stopped by” this cute old out of the way chapel to see if a safe removal was possible. You’ve heard about the “wide open spaces”? Well, this countryside is “it.”

The town is called Mink Creek (pronounced Crik) and the plan is to enlarge the chapel to seat more members during the meetings. The wall to be knocked down is the one with the mural on it. BUT, the plan is to mount the removed mural to another wall in the building. Here’s what the chapel looks like from the pulpit:

1929 mural in chapel of Mink Creek, Idaho

Mink Creek - Preston, Idaho LDS Chapel, with mural painted by H. Helgeson in 1929

1929 Mural of Temple Square, Salt Lake City

1929 Mural of Temple Square

The story that was told me was that the artist, H. Helgeson, had emigrated from Norway 5 years earlier. He painted several murals and other pictures in the chapel. He also painted murals in other buildings in the area and was in Idaho Falls doing a mural where he was mistaken by a policeman for a person he was pursuing and shot the artist dead.

My evaluation is that the mural can be removed safely (with proper pre-caustions), cleaned and be reinstalled in the building with a good long term prognosis for longevity and good condition.

It was a beautiful trip but what else would you expect in June? Its in January when you have to deal with 6 feet of snow during a normal winter!

You would have never heard about or seen this nice mural in Mink Creek if you were not in touch with this blog. I am pleased to let you in on this inside information. Please pass this URL along to others and be sure to sign up for auto updates in the side bar.

To learn more about what you can do to take care, protect and save your collectibles, memorabilia, family history, artwork AND help raise money for the Daughters of Utah Pioneers, go to

Art conservation questions? Call Scott Haskins 805 564 3438

Art appraisal questions? Call Richard Holgate at 805 895 5121

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Scott Haskins, art conservation, mural restoration, LDS vintage art, mural to be saved, saving historic art

Posted in Murals | Tagged , , | 12 Comments

Art Restorer/Conservator, Scott M. Haskins, Featured in Life Section of Newspaper


Marilyn McMahan, staffwriter of the Life Section of the Santa Barbara News-Press published a feature article on me and our art conservation lab last week. I was appreciative for the major coverage, photos and placement they gave! Here is the article entitled, “Art Conservator Restores Paintings in Santa Barbara and Around the World” – Art Restorer/Conservator, Scott M. Haskins, Featured in Life Section of Newspaper CLICK HERE:
Please click on the “LIKE” button and leave a comment.

Scott M. Haskins

Posted in General Info | Tagged | 3 Comments

LDS Rome Temple Construction Update


Progress on construction of LDS temple in Rome as of May 2012

Progress on construction of LDS temple in Rome as of May 2012

This isn’t really about art conservation but it might be indirectly connected later on! On May 28th we were in Rome and on that Sunday evening we went to the site where the new LDS temple is being built. We climbed up on a wall for some photos but a security guard came up to us and said, My partner inside the fence wants you guys down off this wall! He’s crazy too, has a gun and will shoot you!” We started laughing so hard at this implausible scenario we about fell off the wall! Anyway, so we went across the street and found a perfectly legal access up to the roof of the giant shopping mall where we got a fantastic view of the entire construction site.

Here’s a short video bringing you up to date on the progress.

I’m trying to see if I can wiggle my way into the installation of the new murals into the temple, that will be painted in a couple of years. We’ll see.
Pass the video around?
Scott M. Haskins

p.s. If you’d like to see another interesting art conservation related activity we had (but not Mormon art related) while we were in Rome go see this video I made of the behind the scenes tour of the collection of Historical Royal Carriages of the Italian White House:

Posted in General Info | Tagged | 1 Comment

“Purpose of Life” by Robert Oliver Skemp (Hyde Park Mural) Update


I was asked for a quick update on the progress of the mural by Robert Oliver Skemp we removed from the Hyde Park Chapel in London, England: We are cleaning the reverse side of the glue etc that stayed on the back of the canvas of the mural when we pulled it off the wall.

Removing glue from the mural

Removing vinyl paste adhesive from the back of mural.

Here it is laid out, face down, as we go through the difficult task of getting the adhesive off the back without damaging the mural. This is something that must always be done when removing a mural from a wall.

This Thursday, the admin from BYU Idaho will come to Fine Art Conservation Laboratories (FACL, Inc.) in Santa Barbara to see the mural for the first time (its been donated to BYUI) and to discuss the treatments and the options for mounting it on a wall at the university. Should be a nice viist. We are all looking forward to it.

Here’s the video about the removal process in London:

Here’s the initial announcement of going to England to remove the mural:

Posted in Murals | Tagged , , | 8 Comments

Art Conservation Work This Week – Intense!


Brigham Young in Nauvoo, IL

Brigham Young in Nauvoo, IL about 1843. From the collection of DUP

We have the engine at FACL running on all cylinders this week: Mural work at the Salt Lake temple for the LDS Church, large paintings to be cleaned on site at the Daughters of Utah Pioneers (DUP) Museum in SLC, a Post War Expressionist Abstract painting by Jay De Feo examination and reports at Utah State University for the Whitney Museum of American Art in NY, inspecting a “pile” of newly discovered historic paintings, meeting with private clients in SLC and Las Vegas PLUS picking up and delivering gorgeous paintings in Los Angeles (Beverly Hills) and Carmel… and all our other stops! Give us a call.

Whew! We love it!

Sign up for updates to this blog now! Its at the top of the side bar. There is a lot going on. I promise to keep it entertaining and interesting!

See Daughters of Utah Pioneer website:

More info on our work with clients in Utah:

More info on our work with clients in Las Vegas:

For the Whitney Museum of American Art:

Art restoration/conservation questions? Call Scott Haskins at 805 570 4140

Art appraisal questions? Call Richard Holgate at 805 895 5121

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LDS Museum of Church History and Art Gets Big Delivery Today – October 27th


I’m on my way to Utah today for a very interesting visit with clients in Las Vegas and Salt Lake City. Part of this trip is all about delivering some big paintings to the LDS Museum of Church History.

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Church History Museum’s New Teichert


Plates of Laban by Minerva Teichert- detail

A portion of the painting.

A new oil painting by Minerva Teichert has found its way into the collection of the Church History Museum. Above is a portion of the painting. To see Zoram and other details, you will need to wait till the Church History Museum releases its official image (use of this image is strictly prohibited).

I looked it over when it was yet to be acquired to help give a professional opinion as to the condition. It has been previously worked on by someone who knew just enough to be dangerous. Fortunately though, it had not been damaged in the process of the previous “restoration.”

We have enjoyed having this painting in our lab very much. It has reminded me of when I worked on the 40 or so preparatory drawings, colored with oil paint that Minerva did in preparing her Book of Mormon illustrations. I worked on these for the Teichert Family back in about 1982. They allowed me to obtain two of them. This is one that I own:

Ammon Defending The Flocks of King Lamoni by Minerva Teichert

The full sized paintings in oil on masonite are owned by BYU and we often on exhibit in the Harold B. Lee Library.

Back to the Law on the Plates of Brass that we just deilvered back to the Church History Museum: Minerva often painted a “tribal” or ethnic frame around the perimiter of her paintings and she did it opn this one too:

Plates of Brass border

The decorative border on the Plates of Brass

Our art conservation treatments included undoing everything that had previously been done, cleaning, lining, new stretcher bars, varnish. The colors popped and new details were even visible. It really was a wonderful transformation.

Art conservation questions? Call Scott M. Haskins 805 564 3438

Art appriasal questions? Call Richard Holgate at 805 895 5121

See the tour of our lab at

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Posted in Paintings (easel) | Tagged , , | 2 Comments