'Adopt An Artwork' - Historical Society Seeks Help Restoring Art

Sep 3, 2020

When you think of adoption, you may think of something that you keep with you. But this isn’t always the case. A northern Illinois historical society is allowing people to adopt artwork that will stay at the society's museum.

Painting of the Richmond train station, 1986
Credit https://mchenrycountyhistory.org/adopt-an-artwork

“Adopt an Artwork” is a project by the McHenry County Historical Society and Museum. It’s doing this program in preparation for an art show that takes place in May of next year. The show is called “Art of the Past: Discovering History through McHenry County Artists.” 

Kira Stell, the exhibit's curator, said the society regularly does what’s called “Adopt an Artifact,” so they decided to put a twist on that program by using art instead.

“This is the first time that we're centering an exhibit around our art collection,” she said. “We've got about 150 paintings, watercolor oil paintings, as well as some original drawings.” 

Stell said while going through the collection, she noticed a lot of damage to the artwork.  

“There were some like framing issues," she said, "or they'd been improperly framed or they had some acidic material on them that was damaging to the art."

Stell shared that Scott Teasdale will restore the items. He normally appraises art for the organization. He also has an art gallery in Crystal Lake called Woodland Art Gallery & Frame Shoppe. She said he does this type of work all the time.

Stell said that she hopes the upcoming exhibit attracts a new audience to the museum.

Those who are interested in adopting artwork can do so by going to the society’s website. The funds donated will help restore damaged pieces.

  • Yvonne Boose is a 2020 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of the GroundTruth Project. It's a national service program that places talented journalists in local newsrooms like WNIJ. You can learn more about Report for America at wnij.org.