Clementine Hunter's African House Murals

This week we bid a temporary farewell to our lovely Clementine Hunter African House murals as they headed to Houston, TX for some much-needed conservation.

The murals date back to 1955 and have been a gallery fixture in the Melrose African House for almost 60 years. Due to various environmental factors, the murals were beginning to show the initial signs of fatigue. In addition, the African House will soon be undergoing preservation of it's own, so the timing of the mural conservation was fitting.

After much consideration, the APHN selected the Fine Art Conservators of Whitten & Proctor to take on the project. (Quote from one of the conservators.) "The conservators at Whitten & Proctor Fine Art Conservation are very much looking forward to our collaboration with Melrose Plantation, caring for the Clementine Hunter murals from African House," said Jill Whitten. 

Although the murals will be in Houston for a while, we still have many other Clementines on display in the Big House gallery. We'll also be revealing details soon on an exciting interim exhibit in the upstairs of the African House. 

This costly project would not be possible without a generous contribution from long-time APHN Member Miss Theodosia Nolan. We are so grateful for her continuing support.

The Melrose Library

Melrose is in the process of updating, improving, and developing exhibit spaces throughout the house museum and historic site.

Our staff began work on the morning of January 21, 2013 by removing each book from the library and sorting it according to its age and ownership by the Henry family. Significantly damaged books were also removed for proper storage.

By the end of Day 1 the library was empty and installation of the new lighting began. The site caretaker installed florescent fixtures inside the book cases to provide off-set room lighting and draw the visitor’s attention to the books on display. The top shelf in each section was trimmed down to allow more light to flow into the bookcase. Each shelf was then vacuumed, cleaned, and painted where necessary.

Books were then vacuumed and carefully placed back on display. Additional collection items and furniture were moved back into the room. The final step was to install the necessary conservation tools to further protect the collection of books at Melrose.

After 4 days of exhibit work, the library was reopend. The first group to see the work completed were students from Mansfield High School. Their teacher commented, “It didn’t look this good last year!” We are excited to be able to provide visitors with a new experience in the Library exhibit and hope to continue to meet and exceed our visitor’s expectations each day. 

This project is supported by a gift from The Rapides Foundation.