Heritage, Volume 18, Number 1, Winter 2000 Page: 27
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One oF The most LwpoRrTanT Thin
as wuch evzience
In order to preserve a flag it must be
conserved. Conservation is an all-encompassing
approach that looks not only at the
flag but the environment in which the
banner is being stored and exhibited. It is
this environment, in which light levels,
temperature, humidity, air pollutants,
methods of support, and handling determine
the rate of deterioration of the fabric.
Conservation treatments are helpful
in stabilizing a damaged flag, but if it is
returned to a damaging environment then
the treatment is wasted.
The International Institute for the Conservation
of Historic and Artistic Works
was formed in England in 1950 to establish
a profession in which scientific method
would be used to treat significant artistic
and historic objects. A code of ethics was
instituted that excluded the use of materials
that could not be distinguished from
those of the original object. The code also
incorporated the principle of reversibility.
Since no treatment lasts forever, materials
used in treatments must be able to be removed
without damaging or changing the
original object. Also, the material used in
treatments often age differently than those
of the original object. Over time, it is common
for changes in color and in the composition
of the treatment material to damage
or disfigure the original object so that
the treatment no longer performs the func
tion for w hKih was inten.
ous treatments must be able tl
leaving the original object intac
able for subsequent treatments.
The American Institute for
tion provides guidance and assis
als and institutions in locatin
conservation professionals*. C(
are often referred to as restore
terminology was deliberately avc
AIC founders. Restoration imp
on recreating the original appea
object rather than addressing tl
the deterioration. Attempts at
often destroy the original mat,
was the case of Texas' San Ja
where during restoration the I
of the original painting was over
the original scene lost. Today, t
much speculation about wh,
Jacinto flag actually looked lit
images of it have ever been fou
One of the most important tl
servator can do to a flag is thor
mentation so that no matter wh
in the future, as much evidence
will be retained. Flags are two-si
and the sides often differ in pattr
sides must be documented. Doci
of the condition provides a ben
later reference to determine the
terioration of the materials. Te,
documentation include taki
consenvaTot can 3o TO a yLaq is
R whaT happens in The FUTURe,
will he z eTainme.
The previ- graphs, preparing scale drawings, and
be removed, identifying and recording the materit
and avail- als used in the original construction
versus later repairs, alterations, and adConserva-
ditions. Changes to the original flag
ts individu- should be studied and dated so the story
g qualified of the flag can unfold.
onservators An unidentified Confederate first
rs, but this national flag in the collection of the
ided by the Texas State Archives measured 57" x
lies a focus 77". The flag had been given an exirance
of an tensive previous treatment. When this
ie causes of treatment was removed and the flag
restoration documented, it was found the flag origierials.
This nally measured at least 57" x 97" (see
icinto flag, below). During the flag's history, secbackground
tions of the fly end were cut off and
painted and used to patch damaged areas of the fly
here is still and canton. One patch was added that
at the San came from an entirely different source.
ke since no All of these patches were sewn with
nd. threads from the Civil War period, inhings
a con- dicating the flag must have been seough
docu- verely damaged during an engagement,
rat happens possibly by cannon shot. The flag was
e as possible repaired in the field by using pieces of
ded objects, the fly end to fill in the missing areas.
me, soboth According to historian Robert
e rate of dechniques
Sketch of an unidentified Confederate
first national flag. Upon conservation, it
was discovered that the original flag had
been almost 20 inches wider.
HERITAGE * 27 * WINTER 2000
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, Volume 18, Number 1, Winter 2000, periodical, Winter 2000; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45388/m1/27/: accessed March 30, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.