Kabotie Murals are Conserved

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Date: June 26, 2006
Contact: Lyn Carranza, (928) 524-6228 x245

Kabotie mural conservation
Conservators at work on the Kabotie murals.

NPS Photo

Kabotie Murals at Painted Desert Inn Receive Conservation Work

Petrified Forest, AZ – “Painted in 1947 by Hopi artist Fred Kabotie, six interior murals located within the Painted Desert Inn underwent conservation/restoration treatments during the month of June 2006,” stated Superintendent Lee Baiza. The professional conservation services were contracted by the National Park Service with Scott M. Haskins, Fine Art Conservation Laboratories (FACL, Inc.) from Santa Barbara, California.

Since the last conservation treatments of the murals in 1977 the Painted Desert Inn has had problems. The building has settled, which has caused cracks in the plaster and resulted in plaster layers separating from the rock walls. Also through the years, roof leaks have resulted in water stains down many of the paintings. Flaking paint was also a problem/condition that required immediate treatments.

The Painted Desert Inn recently underwent a major restoration which corrected many of the problems of the building. The conservation work of the murals is one of the final steps in the conservation/restoration process.

FACL conservators went through the processes of stopping and correcting the flaking paint, reattaching separated plaster layers, and cleaning the murals. Large cracks were filled with new plaster, very accurate inpainting (retouching) of paint losses was performed and, finally, a protective matte varnish was applied. The results of the conservation treatments were the stabilization of deterioration, and the improvement in the murals’ appearance. A major effort was made to preserve the paintings in their original state (no alterations) as much as possible.

Scott M. Haskins and Fine Art Conservation Laboratories (FACL, Inc.) have performed mural conservation treatments throughout the US and Italy for 30 years including major work at Fair Park in Dallas, Texas, in post offices throughout Pennsylvania, in Salt Lake City for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in San Francisco for the New Asian Museum and the De Young Museum, in Sacramento for the CA State Railroad Museum and for numerous private clients.

Digital, color photos are available upon request. More pictures and information about Painted Desert Inn can be found online at Painted Desert Inn Update.

For more information call (928) 524-6228 weekdays, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Mountain Standard Time; or write to the Superintendent, Petrified Forest National Park, P.O. Box 2217, Petrified Forest, AZ 86028; or e-mail the park.

Last updated: March 16, 2018

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Petrified Forest National Park
P.O. Box 2217

Petrified Forest, AZ 86028-2217


928 524-6228

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