Preservation Attempts

By Sophie Colston

        The first mention of any type of maintenance on the mural was mentioned in the Olympic College newspaper, Ranger Roundup (April 8, 1960, Vol. 13, No.19, p.5). The brief announcement, Mosaic Gets Spring Cleaning, mentions that the cleaning was to be done with an acid solution followed by trimming of the entire mosaic with copper. The mosaic had just been completed in November of the previous year.

        There has been mention of preservation attempts that were undertaken in the 1970s, but the efforts were unsuccessful and there is limited information available on this subject.

        With the impending demolition of the old Math/Science to accommodate new construction, an effort was set in motion to preserve the mosaic, which was scheduled for demolition as well since no funds had been allocated to protect the artwork. College librarian, Diane Moore, addressed the issue of preserving the mosaic to the college council. An art conservator was employed to determine the feasibility of saving the mosaic and the costs that might be involved. The cost of preservation would include de-installation, treatment, storage, and reinstallation. A square-foot section of the mosaic was removed to investigate the viability of preservation. The test removal took six hours to complete and the sample piece itself developed a large crack down the middle during removal and was nearly falling apart upon complete removal from the wall. Preservation efforts for the entire mural would be a massive undertaking. Even with funding to cover costs, an effective method has to be developed and employed to remove the mural that would maintain the integrity of the mosaic pieces. Murals of Bremerton and the City of Bremerton have recently been involved in the preservation effort; the former have plans to nominate the mural to the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation’s most endangered list.