Spicer Art Conservation is the foremost conservation studio for the preservation of historic and antique flags and banners. Gwen Spicer is also a Flag Research Fellow of the Flag Research Center, Austin, TX.
We have conserved flags in any condition from every conflict, pre-Revolutionary to current. Whether a flag comes to us from a large State collection or from private owners, each flag is preserved with care and expertise.
Preservation, Conservation and the Restoration of Historic or Antique Flags and Banners…what is the difference?
Often we are asked what each of these descriptions of the care of flags (and other artifacts) entails. Simply put, conservation is a method of preservation, but conservation is also an exacting science with the intent of the treatment being fully reversible if necessary. Therefore, whatever is done to the flag to preserve or repair it can be changed or modified later if a better method is found in the future, or if the circumstances and condition of the flag change. Conservators are specially trained and adhere to the American Institute for the Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works Code of Ethics and Guidelines for Practice. That simply means that all repair of flags (or any artifact) and preservation methods employed are done so following strict ethical guidelines.
Restoration is quite different in that it refers to attempting to return an item back to what it once was, or in some terms, making something “new” again. This typically alters an object permanently. While we are often asked by owners of artifacts and antique flags to bring their item back to its original state, there are limits to our abilities within the scope of being a professional conservator. However, what a conservator can do is nothing short of amazing!
We are often asked if we do “flag cleaning”, or “flag repair”. Performing a cleaning of a flag is often part of a treatment that is performed, but conservation of a flag is much more than simply cleaning a flag. Also the methods of cleaning a flag are very carefully undertaken and involve testing of the fabrics and dyes to determine what kind, if any, cleaning is possible.
Flag repair is almost always a part of the conservation of flags that have tears or losses to fabric. However, in conservation, flag repair is performed in many different ways. When repairing a flag, the goal is always to provide support and stability to a fragile flag and to prevent any further damage.
Conservators are invested fully in the care and preservation of cultural heritage. Conservators are specifically trained and educated at a masters degree level and their methods are precise. Our job is to provide you with the best possible recommendation for the preservation of your artifact, and then to perform that treatment professionally, conscientiously and with principle.
To see some of our recent projects which detail antique flag preservation conservation and repair methods can be found here:
- To read more about the conservation of the historic Civil War flags from Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield, see our Project Highlights page or click here.
- To read about the conservation and mounting of a historic Civil War war record banner, click here.
- To read about Spicer Art Conservation’s textile conservation and pressure mounting of Historic War of 1812 Battle Flag see our PRESS RELEASE – Historic 1812 Battle Flag is Conserved.