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Tulsa, Oklahoma
Conserving America’s Treasures in Tulsa
Joanna Didik, conservator, works in the paper conservation lab at the Helmerich Center for American Research at the Gilcrease Museum.  Image courtesy of the Gilcrease Museum.

Joanna Didik, conservator, works in the paper conservation lab at the Helmerich Center for American Research at the Gilcrease Museum. Image courtesy of the Gilcrease Museum.

With one of the world’s greatest collections of art and historical artifacts pertaining to the American West, the Gilcrease Museum houses many of the United States’s cultural treasures: Frederic Remington’s, Charles Schreyvogel’s, and Frank Tenney Johnson’s depictions of nineteenth-century Native Americans and cowboys; Thomas Moran’s and Albert Bierstadt’s awe-inspiring landscapes; and more than 10,000 documents chronicling the life and career of Bob Dylan. It holds portraits by John Singer Sargent, paintings by James Abbott McNeill Whistler, and Benjamin Franklin’s certified copy of the Declaration of Independence, which he carried with him as an envoy to France. With a challenge grant from the NEH, which helped the museum raise an additional $1.2 million, the Gilcrease Museum was able to endow a position for a chief conservator. The endowment provided the Museum with much-needed stability, enabling it to hire a full-time, highly-skilled staff member. This stability, in turn, has made it possible for the Museum to plan for the future and attend to the continued care of the collection—ensuring that its treasures will be available for use in the present and preserved for future generations.

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