Museum Versus Usable Mason Monterey

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Many of the Mason Monterey pieces were damaged in the flood of 1964, when a warm rain melted the snow pack and water poured through the Chateau, sending the A-Frames (right) and several other pieces through broken windows and into the gulley below, breaking furniture and stripping the original painted finishes. Many of these very damaged pieces were restored using conservation principles, to be used again in the Chateau.   We will document a few of the three dozen pieces restored in these pages.

Our initial task, along with the curator, Mary Merryman, was to prioritize which pieces should be sent into a museum collection and which pieces should be restored for use on the floor.  This involved a three day condition assessment of all the Monterey items.  Mason Monterey pieces were found in use both in the lobby and individual lodging rooms, but were also  stored in attic spaces.  Once objects were prioritized, damaged items were stored in a air-controlled storage facility while awaiting conservation and restoration.

Pieces with intact original finish or intact upholstery were set aside for the Museum.  Unusual pieces with original finish or original upholstery were conserved using strict museum protocol, such as the Table-Lamp in Chateau Orange, left. We will differentiate these pieces as Museum Collection pieces.

The Chateau Green A-Frame chair on the left was one of the few A-style chairs which was not get swept through the broken dining hall window during the flood.  This piece was gently cleaned and conserved, to be curated and shown in the Museum Collection.  A second green A-Frame was one of the survivors which was broken and stripped of finish during the flood, now restored to be used again on the floor.  Due to fresh paint, it now appears bright, however, over time, the finish will mature and eventually appear as the original.

Left, two upholstered Paddle-arm chairs are an excellent example of these differences: The one on the right has original upholstery and was conserved and restored to go into the Museum collection, while the one on the left was damaged with poor upholstery, and so was fully restored with a new showcover, to be used on the floor.

The two horseshoe or barrel-back chairs went into the museum collection, above.

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