USA: Winter Can't Stop Preparations for Burlington, Vermont Mural Move
by Samuel D. Gruber
All photos courtesy of Ohavi Zedek Synagogue. You can follow the Lost Shul Mural on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/lostshulmural and
(ISJM) It has been a cold and snowy winter in Burlington, Vermont (but that is hardly unexpected). It has not stopped the conservation and engineering team of the Lost Shul Mural Project of Ohavi Zedek Synagogue from working hard in preparation for the move of the mural when the weather warms. A lot has happened with the project since I last reported at length on this blog in 2013. You can read more about the history, art and planning of the proejct at www.lostshulmural.org.
Last spring consolidation and cleaning of the 1910 synagogue mural took place and funds were successfully raised for the move. Careful conservation and technical planning really began in May 2014 and continued through the fall ,as the team confronted the details of the unprecedented task and developed methods to cope with every conceivable problem that might arise. the team of conservators widened, and all of the architects, engineers and construction contractors became fully engaged and focused.
In this third and most difficult (and expensive) phase the project, beginning last October, there have been four main inter-related activities:
First, the mural itself needed to be protected so that the painstakingly conserved paint surface suffers no damage during the construction work and removal of part of the roof, and then during the full cutting, lifting and moving of the roof section upon which the mural is painted.
Second, the outer roof had to be removed to inspect and reinforce from behind the lathe and plaster upon which the mural is painted. To do this, however, required the construction of a temporary work shed that encloses the entire apse of the former synagogue and the area of investigation and removal. While the shed was still going up the conservation team managed to have a few slates removed for an early peak inside - with the help of a "Go-Pro" mini-video cameras. But then, the entire work shed needed to be carefully attached to the main building while maintaining weather-tight connections, and then topped off and secured.
Donations are accepted for the project via the website and major sponsors still need to be identified and their support will be very welcome and gratefully acknowledged.