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University of Iowa News Release

 

Feb. 2, 2009

MEDIA ADVISORY: UI Libraries restores artifacts from African American Museum

The Conservation Laboratory at the University of Iowa Libraries has completed restoration of 31 flood-damaged artifacts from the African American Historical Museum and Cultural Center of Iowa in Cedar Rapids. The media is invited to visit the Conservation Lab at 1 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 3, when Susan Kuecker, museum curator, will accept the items.

Media will meet at the north entrance of the Main Library and then be guided to the lab. Kuecker will be available to provide background information on the cleaned items, which will be on view before being packed up for transport to the museum.

The artifacts include a collection of buttons from Mason's Dry Cleaners in Cedar Rapid, a business that was owned by Elmer Smith Jr., as well as coins, baskets, gourds, feathered fans and a mat woven by George Washington Carver.

Nancy E. Kraft, head of preservation at UI Libraries, says her staff logged more than 280 hours cleaning the items, which were retrieved the week of June 16, 2008 after flood waters receded from the museum at 55 12th Ave. SE in Cedar Rapids. Restoration of the items required anywhere from 15 minutes to 35 hours, depending on the amount of damage and intricacy, Kraft said.

The return of the collection coincides with Black History Month, a popular time for visitors to the museum.

The Conservation Lab is also restoring flood-damaged collections from the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library in Cedar Rapids and the Johnson County Historical Society. For background on these efforts see http://news-releases.uiowa.edu/2008/december/121608restoration.html.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACTS: Nancy E. Kraft, UI Libraries, nancy-e-kraft@uiowa.edu, 319-335-5286; George McCrory, University News Services, 319-384-0012, george-mccrory@uiowa.edu