Military WWII Memorabilia US Coast Guards – Artwork from the National Headquarters – Collection Care Tips for Collectors By Scott M. Haskins, Art Conservator
Fine Art Conservation Laboratories (FACL) was recently awarded a contract to provide art conservation treatments on 29 works of art on paper belonging to the National Headquarters of the United States Coast Guard , “HSCG Historic Art Collection.” If you are a history buff of World War II and a collector of military memorabilia and collectibles then this article contains valuable collection care tips for you and a quick video “fly by” to let you have an insider’s view of this collection of original works of art on paper. Most of the art in the USCG Historic Art Collection is made up of WW2 era combat art by artists who were USCG service members during WW2 and were tasked with recording CG wartime history from CG cutters and shore locations. In addition to WW2 combat art, the USCG Historic Art Collection has a smaller Vietnam combat art collection (currently housed within the CG Art Program collection.) and a small but growing recently painted art collection that commemorates life and historic events in the USCG and predecessor agencies. These 29 original works of art consist of ink washes, watercolors and different types of pencils and constitute a small part of the USCG combat art collection which numbers over 700 pieces. The USCG Historic Art Collection has all types of art in the collection: watercolors, oils, drawings, pastels, ink, pencils, and statues. See the link to the short video at the end of this article. Some works of art are displayed in offices and units at USCG HQ, flag quarters, and when they are on loan, to museums and educational organizations. “We tend to be very selective when loaning the art collection pieces out -‐ we don't do it very often.”
said the curator in an interview. It depends on the museum and the exhibition proposal. Recently, FACL received this contract from the United States Coast Guard to first consult with them about the needs of this collection of 29 works of art on paper then to do the art conservation treatments that are so badly needed. Given the awful use of tape, adhesives and poor storage materials, there are some examples of “blatent proof” that collectors can take to heart about what NOT to use when gluing, framing and storing. The suggestions and tips I’ll make have an affect on value and long term preservation of these types of historical collectibles. The conservation problems that afflict the entire collection mostly center around the use of Scotch Tape, masking tape, contact cement and acidic materials used for framing, display and storage. Of course, as you might imagine, the artists were using what they had handy and archival materials where unknown at the time. Here are some great tips for you of never-to-be-used materials that collectors should be aware of today: Scotch tape (or any off the shelf tape), contact cement, cardboard, white glue (or other glues off the shelf of your local store), dry mounting, lamination, non archival matt boards, “permanent” quality anything that will be hard to remove in the future. Never use or let these materials come into contact with original art or meaningful, historical information, like labels, notes and letters. Here is a photo of the back of an artwork that is the framing job from hell: 4 types of destructive tape; masking, packing, scotch and electrical. The adhesives from these tapes are soaked into the paper fibers so you can’t get the stain out and causes yellowing. There are historic labels on the backs of all of the work of art and as a collector, you can imagine the horror of trying to preserve a historic label covered in scotch tape. Adding to the dilemma is the yellowing and embrittlement of the papers due to acids. So, the lesson to be learned here is to use archival, tested true materials for storage of and treatment of your treasured memorabilia. If your desire to fix up or restore
your collectibles yourself gets into anything dicey or tricky, call a professional for some coaching. At least find out what you might do to impact negatively the value. SaveYourStuffBlog.com has been set up to provide for you ongoing tips, examples and great stories to help you as a collector. Sign up in the upper side bar for updates. We’re here to help. In fact, we’ll be posting more articles with examples of the work we are doing on this military artwork memorabilia collection so you can benefit from our efforts. Get signed up (no cost, no spam, we don’t sell our list) and stay in touch also on Facebook under Save Your Stuff, Tips For Art Collectors and Scott M. Haskins. Scott Haskins is the author of How To Save Your Stuff From A Disaster Home Edition and Save Your Stuff in the Workplace Office Edition (Morgan James Publishing, NY) available on Amazon or as an e-‐book (50% off) I’ve put together a quick video review of the collection of 29 items. CLICK on this link. Scott M. Haskins 805 564 3438 Art conservation questions Richard Holgate 805 895 5121 Art appraisal questions
Published on Nov 13, 2013
29 combat art on paper items in the conservation lab - Check out these rarely seen works of art and get collection care tips from an art con...