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Portion of Bonestell's Lunar Landscape showing damage that needs repair during conservation work

A Conservation Story

After the Museum of Science, Boston removed A Lunar Landscape from display in 1970, it remained unseen for over thirty years. Finally, in July 2005, museum staff gathered at the Smithsonian’s Museum Support Center to witness the mural’s unrolling.

Jia–sun Tsang, senior paintings conservator at the Smithsonian’s Museum Conservation Institute, surveyed the painting with her team to determine how it had faired rolled up for three decades. The mural showed some telling signs of age, but nothing that conservation work could not fix. Outside layers of the roll (mostly the left section) showed some discoloration. But aside from minor flaking, the rest of the mural was in good condition. After two days of examination, the mural was carefully re–rolled.

To restore the mural for future display, a team will need to unroll it again, stretch the canvas over many months, and then mount it on an aluminum frame.

Unrolling the Mural

Conservation Assessment Photographs

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Photos by Eric Long


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