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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Mural from 1964 World’s Fair of The Purpose of Life – Update


Here’s an update on what is happening with the mural that I went to London to save from demolition. Here’s what was written previously:

Part 1

Part 2

YouTube Video  of removal

Lo Scopo Della Vita

Famous mural from the 1964 World's Fair in NY

I just spoke with Jerry Griffin at BYU Idaho who is choreographing the arrangements among the university administration and the campus departments for the mural’s use and display. There will be a meeting next Monday where the proposal on how to proceed will be presented. I referred Jerry to my video on reattaching detached murals that I made for Texas State University on YouTube ( to help them see the options.

In a meeting with the Church History Department last week it was hoped that the mural wound be available in the future for displays in SLC by the Church. So, our art conservation treatments will be focused keeping the murals portable, somewhat.

I’m gratified that all with whom I’ve spoken realize the importance and benefits of the mural and want the art conservation work to be the highest quality possible. I’ll be reporting on progress and maybe we’ll make another quick video if there is something interesting to show you. So, sign in for updates in the upper right part of the side bar so that you’ll when I post on this blog. There’s a lot of interesting news coming!

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In Utah Delivering Completed Art Conservation Projects and Consulting


LDS Temple in Salt Lake City

I’m in Utah meeting with private collectors and The LDS Church History Department. We’ve delivered the Minerva Teichert that I posted about at I’ll post about it in a couple of days.
Monday will be  full day! I’m meeting with engineers and architects who are evaluating the “systems” (air flow, plumbing and electrical) in the Mormon SLC Temple. Some future work this next year will impact the historic murals rooms and they are talking to me about what it will take to preserve and restore. I’m really glad they are thinking about this!

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Pioneers by Minerva Teichert Just Restored – Delivery next week


Whew! We are doing a lot of very cool projects for the LDS CHurch History Dept and the Museum right now. I could blog daily! Sorry I don’t have the time to share everything I’d like to about these really great projects, artists and stories. But here’s a quick update on the conservation work I’ve reported on in the past:

This painting of Pioneers is one of two murals on this subject my Minerva Teichert. They hang in the Museum of Church History and Art at the entrance to the main gallery.

One of two murals of pioneers by Minerva Teichert

Minerva Teichert's murals of pioneers

I call them murals because they were designed to be murals, I think. But, you know the definition of a mural, don’t you? “A painting on a wall.” Well, technically, these aren’t murals anymore since they are not on a wall but are framed moveable paintings now.

Anyway, this painting was glued down to a really poorly constructed backing of plywood and there were bubbles and distortions starting to show. So, the Museum sent it to us to remove it from the plywood, readhere it onto a quality honeycomb panel, clean (can you see the cleaning test along the top border, right side?) and revarnish it.

Minerva Teichert- Preparing new honeycomb panel

Preparing new honeycomb panel for mounting the painting of pioneers by Minerva Teichert.

In the above photo the adhesive is being laid on the white interleaf which is already adhered to the panel. You can see the painting wrapped around the large tube in the background.

The cleaning made a nice difference in color from a smoggy day to a nice baby blue sky. Here’s a photo of cleaning:

Cleaning a Minerva Teichert

Minerva Teichert Cleaning

You will notice the shiny left 1/3 side with the varnish still on it. The middle 1/3 has undergone a 1st cleaning but you can see in the sky that there is still a grimy look to it. The right 1/3 looks the cleanest. This process of going through a double cleaning was required to safely clean the painting. The first layer came off with one solvent and the second layer came off with another solvent. If we had tried to clean everything off in one effort, we would have removed original paint and damaged the artwork (which we NEVER do!).

I tried to post a quick video clip of the cleaning technique but I can’t get it to play so, sorry about that…

The painting is now mounted onto its new honeycomb panel, cleaned and newly varnished. Next Monday it will be packed up and next Wednesday, Oct. 26 it will be delivered to the Church’s Museum along with the conserved Odgen Temple mural (still as yet to be remounted into the new temple, obviously) and a newly acquired, newly discovered painting by the Church that I’ll blog about too. Also being delivered is a very nice old sacrament table (c. 1900) that was donated by someone in LA. We fumigated it and will be sending it up to SLC also.

Minerva Teichert's pioneers

Minerva Teichert's pioneers

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All my best


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Provo Tabernacle Update- See photo of original historical decorative painting never before seen


Provo Tabernacle on Fire

Provo Tabernacle on fire Dec. 18, 2010

Some of you may already know that the Provo Tabernacle that burned in December last year, December 18, 2010 will be restored on the outside to it’s historic appearance but that its use and purpose will change. The LDS Church announced in its General Conference last week that the building will be rebuilt into the second temple in the Provo area. Here is a photo of the interior as it looks, more or less, today:

As it appears today, the Provo Tabernacle Interior

The Provo Tabernacle interior as it appears today.

You may remember that the Church History Dept. asked me to do some tests on some original decorative painting that was discovered after the fire burned off several layers of wall paper: Here’s what those newly discovered original historic decorations look like. I don’t think they have ever been seen before by the public:

Provo Tabernacle newly discovered original historic decorative painting

Newly discovered original historic decorative painting in Provo Tabernacle

While the LDS History Department was trying to have them incorporated into the rebuilding of the tabernacle, now that it is going to be a temple, I’m not sure what the plan is for these original details. Of course, if I hear something, I’ll let you know.

Another subject that has been on people’s minds has been “What has been the ultimate fate of the miraculous survival of the print of Christ?” Well, the print has been saved by the Church History Dept. but there is no plan to do anything with it immediately. But I have a plan that may work towards getting it preserved. For now, its “a secret” until the idea gets pitched. you may remember though that I solicited a survey of what people though should be done with the print. See the super short video:

The overwhelming, almost 98% opinion was to preserve the print as is but not to restore it so that it looked perfect. Then, after it is preserved, to put it back in the tabernacle as a historical artifact of the fire and the history of the tabernacle.

That’s all for now on this subject. But stay connected by signing up for updates cause there will be a lot to tell you about this month! Please tell others about the super insider, incredibly interesting blog! This is worth spreading around I think.

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Famous Mural Removal – Hyde Park Chapel, London – Part 2


Well, it was a whirlwind of activity last week: I was asked on Tues. by the History Department of the LDS Church to be at the Hyde Park Chapel in London England for a 3 pm meeting on Thurs. to discuss the removal of the mural. That meant, of course, taking the red eye flight on Wed. (btw, I enjoyed taking New Zealand Air for the first time, non stop from LA to London).

When coming out of Hyde Park, appears the Albert Memorial and the Victoria Albert Concert Hall

I made it, just in time, to my meeting on Thurs. by cutting through Hyde Park (a really nice park) and the first thing I saw when coming out of the park was the Victoria Albert Concert Hall and the Price Albert Memorial… I knew I wasn’t in Kansas anymore.

The Patient under examination, as I discussed in Part 1, is the famous mural that was a focal point in the Mormon Pavilion at the 1964 World’s Fair in NYC.

Man's Search For Happiness Mural by Robert Oliver Skemp

In 1962, Elder Harold B. Lee of the Council of the Twelve was appointed Executive Director of the Mormon Pavilion and he gave the charge that a film depicting  “the three great questions of life: where we came from, our purpose and reason for being here upon the earth, and what happens to us after death” be produced. Many of us remember the film that was made for the fair, Man’s Search For Happiness. The mural depicts the
phases of life illustrated in the film.
Visitors who came through the pavilion at the World’s Fair commented. One wrote, “For about a half hour after we left the theatre, we hardly spoke to each other. …“My wife broke the silence by asking: ‘Can you believe it?’ “I knew what she meant by ‘it.’ ‘It’ referred to your Gospel and the message we got from the movie. My response—‘Yes, I can believe it and it is a wonderful thing to believe …’

During and after the Fair, the mural was used in films, filmstrips, teaching illustrations and PR images internationally and, perhaps was one of the best recognized images of the church in the 1960′s and 1970′s. Once the fair was over, it was mounted on a wall in the Hyde Park Chapel. It has been there ever since.

Testing the possibility of removal, once I got there, brought a sigh of relief to me: I could see that I could make happen the separation of the canvas from the wall in a safe and cost effective way… and that brought a sign of relief from the people who sent me to London! As I said in the first blog post, prior to seeing the mural first hand, I had no way of knowing if this project was going to cost $10,000 or $250,000 by simply hearing descriptions over the phone. I mean, by goodness, I wasn’t even given the right dimensions of the mural. It turns out it was 1/2 the size I thought it was going to be.

So, given the positive results from my testing, it was decided to remove the mural immediately, while I was there. It was a 2 day process. Once again, as I said before, the mural was removed because of the impending extensive renovation involving demolition. The LDS History Department is gratified that events have worked out to save such an important and fondly remembered mural from destruction.

Here is the video I shot of the removal of the mural from the wall.

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The Purpose of Life Mural From the 1964 World’s Fair – Will It Be Saved From Demolition? Part 1


Lo Scopo Della Vita

The Purpose of Life- Mural Painted for NY 1964 World's Fair

The LDS mural entitled The Purpose of Life, painted for the booth of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) at the 1964 World’s Fair, has been located in the Hyde Park Chapel in London, England ever since. This image was hugely successful and popular receiving world wide recognition as it was used in Church curriculum, PR and evangelical pamphlets, on film strips and for other media world wide.

The Hyde Park Chapel is now slated to undergo massive renovation in anticipation of the 2012 Olympics in London. This renovation will involve demolition as they install Visitor Center style displays and the mural was slated to be destroyed. One of the problems of reusing the mural is its size: approximately 10′ x 30′. For the last 6 month there have been a going back and forth of discussion about keeping the mural but in the end, the church headquarters decided to decline.

That’s when several well energized people in the LDS Historical Department jumped into gear with the suggestion of donating the removed mural to one of the church schools. This met with a cautious favorable nod if all the details like budgets can fall into place. But the mural, once it is be removed and conserved, will be slated for donation to Brigham Young University Idaho, if all is successful. It is not known yet what they will do with the mural.

So, tomorrow, Wed. August 24th I’m catching a non stop to London. I arrive at noon on Thurs. and get over to the Hyde Park Chapel where I test the mural to determine the in’s and out’s of the removal and budget. I then have a meeting with the construction guys at about 3 pm… then, depending on our discussions of the details of the project we’ll see if I’m going to be there 1 day or for the next two weeks while I immediately remove the mural.

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Burned Out Provo Tabernacle Research Turns Up Hidden Beautiful Painted Decorations


A forensic researcher of historic properties asked me to look through the Rubble of the burned out Provo Tabernacle recently. Apparently, when the fire burned through the historic structure, it peeled off of the walls many multiple layers of wall paper to reveal original painted walls of plaster. Because the designs are so beautiful and well done, there was quite a bit of excitement about what to do about the find:
1. detach the plaster walls and save the original design work as a historical artifact of the original building?
2. take high resolution photos and tracings to reuse the design work as part of the new restoration of the burned out building

The decision making process as to what to do with the Provo Tabernacle shell is complex. For instance, the building has gone through numerous remodelings, refurnishings, repaintings etc over the last 100+ years… to which “appearance” do you restore/reconstruct the building and it’s interiors? Its probably impossible to know EXACTLY every detail of how the interior was at any time… so, restoring it back to, let’s say, its most historic appearance would have to be based on clues from other similar buildings and artifacts. Quite tricky. If you go back to the most historic look, that is not what defines “pre-existing or pre-fire condition” by the insurance company. So, what are they ethically responsible to fund?

So the decision making process is not quick or easy but it is in motion and all concerned are not only professionally committed to doing a great job, but also emotionally.

Sign on this blog for updates. I have a video planned as soon as I get more info from “headquarters.”

Inside of Provo Tabernacle during clean up after fire

Inside of Provo Tabernacle during clean up after fire

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Mural of “The Restoration” by LA Ramsey Found and Restored


The painting is among the most recognized in Mormon Art; The delivering of the plates of the Book of Mormon to Joseph Smith by the Angel Moroni by Lewis A. Ramsey. This video is about the incredible story of the artist’s very first original version of this painting “The Restoration” as L.A. Ramsey titled it.

The painting was first done as a mural in the SLC 11th Ward Chapel. It was widely acclaimed becoming one of the most recognizable LDS Sunday School illustrations in the Church. With such popularity, L.A. Ramsey made many more versions of the painting which added to it’s use as an illustration far and wide.

The 11th Ward Chapel was slated for demolition in 1960 to make way for a hospital and the mural was at risk because no one knew how to remove it. Finally, in a declaration from Church Headquarters, the entire wall was encased in cement, removed from the building and the mural was saved.

But, then, what did they do with it? Unknown and lost for decades, Church Historian and Curator, Richard Omen began a hunt for the “long lost masterpiece” in 1979. He discovered it in the back lot of the Deseret Press with a shed built around it.

I remember, when he called me. He was so excited to, maybe, have found the lost painting. We met in the back lot, I took a claw hammer and pried off a plywood panel and I looked inside with a flashlight: the smell of rats, feces and urine about knocked me off my feet! It reeked! With a big deep breath, we began pulling away boards and”stuff” only to discover later they were mounds of rat nests.

Finally, we were about to see past all the “coverings” and saw the image you see here in the video. We had a bit of a celebration and we scheduled immediately to remove the mural from the shed. Soon therafter, we removed the mural from the cement wall. One of the complications we encountered was the presence of toxic led adhesives and paint. Once removed, we took the mural painting to the conservation laboratory for a full conservation treatment and restoration. The video shows these moments too.

As Dr. John D. Hopkins quoted me, “We had a tough go of it.” The conservation problems went from bad to worse. For some terrific research and more background info on the painting and artist, go to

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