Conservation and Restoration of Fine Furniture and Objects
Ten Chimneys Historic House Museum
Club chair after conservation, Ten Chimneys Historic House Museum
Club chair before conservation, Ten Chimneys Historic House Museum
Closeup of damage
Chair during treatment
During treatment

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Ten Chimneys Historic House Museum


Ten Chimneys, a destination in Wisconsin, is both world-class museum and historic home. The residence of legendary Broadway actors Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne, the estate offers visitors the experience of visiting a 1930’s era home, complete with original furnishings. Before opening to the public, much of the museum’s furniture and object collections required preservation. Bernacki & Associates were honored to be part of the conservation team. In the library, was a club chair; a favorite of Lynn Fontaine who spent many of her last years enjoying it. Sadly, the chair had vastly deteriorated. Not only were its arms and headrests extremely worn, its structure was riddled in large holes. Vital to the museum’s collection, restoring the chair would prove an interesting conservation challenge.


Despite the chair’s extreme degradation, Bernacki & Associates set out to preserve as much original fabric as possible while maintaining visual integrity. In an unexpected solution, areas of overtly lost upholstery were replaced with original fabric from the underside of the pillows and the removed fabric recovered with neutral-colored velveteen. This method returned a sense of visual completeness to the chair while simultaneously retaining as much original material as possible. The chair now continues to sit in Lynn Fontanne’s library, delighting museum visitors each day.


Sequential images of the club chair seen after, before, and throughout the process of conservation

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