Collaborative conservation of the Charles Hubbard natural history dioramas

Ron Harvey and Nina Roth-Wells


This paper will address the treatment of natural history dioramas in the L.C. Bates Museum in Hinckley, Maine. The collection has been exhibited in its present building since 1911 as a teaching museum for the residents/students of the Good Will-Hinckley Home for Boys and Girls. The L.C. Bates Museum houses a unique collection of natural history and fine art within an historic structure. The dioramas were created by painter/naturalist Charles Hubbard to illustrate the mammalian and avian species of Maine.

The treatment of the dioramas followed a holistic approach and was carried out through collaboration of the objects and painting conservators. As the dioramas had never been treated before, the treatment goal was to retain the specimens and early 20th-century interpretation while repairing damages, updating lighting systems, and retrofitting cases to reduce infiltration of dust and create more stable environmental conditions.

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2008 | Denver | Volume 15