More About the November Road Trip

Microscope in use. Photo from the Washington Post.

TPA Textile Preservation Associates Inc. is a textile conservation laboratory offering a wide range of professional conservation services to museums, historic societies, private individuals and government agencies. TPA services include conservation treatment of flags, uniforms and other historic textiles, modern fiber arts, samplers, quilts and decorative arts; textile examination; collection conservation surveys and object exhibit preparation and consulting. TPA has been in operation since 1987.

Treatments are designed for each object based on the composition, condition, and planned use of that object. Treatments are based on a policy of minimum intervention, complete reversibility and access for research. Extremely fragile objects are often encapsulated between two layers of polyester crepeline and fragments fixed in place by sewing through the voids. Synthetic adhesives are not used except for occasional use on one sided paintings in cooperation with a paintings conservator. Most flat objects are prepared for vertical display by sandwiching between a padded panel and ultra-violet filtering glazing in a light pressure mount for support. The stabilization treatment is separated from the exhibit mount so that removal from the mount does not require undoing the treatment.

Conservator Cathy Heffner was introduced to the field of conservation as a participant in the work study program at Brunswick High School in 1975. Assigned to the conservation laboratories of the National Park Service, Cathy immediately showed an aptitude for conservation work that led the National Park Service to employing her as a technician after graduation 1976. Her projects included working on the traveling Native American exhibit “Indian Pride on the Move” and an exhibit maintenance plan for the Gettysburg National Military Park. Cathy worked on the Bertrand collection of the Fish and Wildlife Service in Iowa in 1978.

Cathy joined Textile Preservation Associates in 1989 and has worked on numerous projects including the San Jacinto flag of the state of Texas, the Treasury Guard flag at the Lincoln Museum, the Crestar Bank fiber art sculptures and the Baltimore Museum’s collection of pre- Columbian textiles and the World War II flags raised on Mt. Surabaci in Iwo Jima by the Marine Corps.

Cathy has also worked on the state flag collections for Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and West Virginia. Textile Preservation Associates Inc. has been responsible for the treatment of many notable objects including: – The Treasury Guard Flag and Lincoln Assassination Garments exhibited at the Ford’s Theater Lincoln Museum – The San Jacinto flag exhibited in the House of Representatives’ chamber in the Texas State Capitol – The complete collection of flags of the First City Troop of Philadelphia, starting with the Revolutionary War standards through the present – The World War II flags raised on Mt. Surabaci in Iwo Jima by the Marine Corps – The regimental colors of the 20th Maine carried at Gettysburg – The Crestar Bank collection of modern fiber page 4 The Sampling art sculpture in Richmond and Roanoke, Virginia – The Baltimore Museum of Art collection of pre-Columbian textiles – Seventeenth century crewel drapes for the Dumbarton Oaks mansion – The conservation and preparation for permanent exhibition in frames of the anniversary quilts of the National Guard Museum in Washington D. C. and the Dauphin County Court House, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

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