Wallingford community comes together to help cleanup historic site

Wallingford community comes together to help cleanup historic site


Wallingford community comes together to help clean up historic site

WALLINGFORD — Community members all around the state are coming together to help each other clean up from Tuesday’s storm damage. On Sunday Wallingford community members came out to help clean up a historic site.

“The Cheshire, Wallingford Hamden area got especially hard hit as you know they designated some as tornado (damage),” Cheshire resident Richard Straub said.

The Silver Museum sits on South main street. I was built by Franklin Johnson in 1866, making it one of the oldest in town.

Jerry Farrell “Just devastated luckily the house was still fine but the backyard which we use a lot for events and historic demonstrations was just filled with disheveled trees,” Wallingford Preservation Trust President Jerry Farrell said.

Farrell put out the call for help to clean up the debris and more than a dozen people came ready to lend a hand.

“We live in this town and we love this town so many areas, just even our town alone let alone the whole state was just devastated, we got really lucky,” volunteer Marty Mansfield said.

Museum board members say luckily the damage to the building was minor but times like this show just how important neighbors helping neighbors can be.

Italy’s art police recover works stolen from quake-hit churches


The Local  IT


Italy’s art police recover works stolen from quake-hit churches

Italy's art police recover works stolen from quake-hit churches
Two of the recovered paintings, one stolen from L’Aquila and one stolen from Spoleto, after earthquakes damaged churches in each town. Photo: Carabinieri
An Italian police unit specializing in protecting the country’s cultural heritage on Tuesday presented 37 artworks it had recovered, some of which had been stolen from churches in the aftermath of deadly earthquakes in central Italy.

The artworks dated back to between the 16th and 20th centuries and had been taken in 16 separate robberies over the past two decades.

The pieces have “inestimable historic, artistic, and religious value”, the Art Squad, as the police unit is known, said in a statement.

Among the most important pieces recovered were five altarpieces from two churches in L’Aquila, which were closed due to damage in a deadly 2009 earthquake from which the city is still recovering.

Nicola Candido, one of the officers involved in the operation, told the press “we are particularly proud of the recovery of the altarpieces taken from the earthquake-hit zone”.

You can see some of the rescued pieces in the video below.


L’Aquila’s mayor thanked the police for the recovery and said he hoped the artwork would be returned to the city.

Police found the art in villas along the Amalfi Coast, and have charged three people over the thefts.

The Carabinieri’s Art Squad dubbed the “blue helmets”, was founded in 1969 to combat art and antiquities crimes, and helps train art police in other countries.

In the aftermath of deadly quakes in the central regions of Italy, the officers raced to rescue and restore damaged artworks from churches and other buildings damaged by the tremors.

For Puerto Rico’s Art Museums, Hurricane Maria Wreaked Havoc and Revealed Vulnerabilities


For Puerto Rico’s Art Museums, Hurricane Maria Wreaked Havoc and Revealed Vulnerabilities

March 8, 2018; New York Times

In the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Maria, museum leaders across Puerto Rico did all they could to protect their treasures from the elements, and then from mold and mildew during the extended power outages. As reported last week in the New York Times, “Months later, they seem to have largely succeeded. Most museum buildings were spared heavy damage and, although assessments are still coming in, no widespread or lasting harm to the art has been reported.”

This is not to say all is well: Tens of millions of dollars likely will be needed to repair the damage that was done to the buildings and their grounds, and upgrades and new investments will need to be made to better prepare for future emergencies.

Among the cultural institutions that sustained damage were these:

  • The Museum of Contemporary Art of Puerto Rico in San Juan had to “hack big, rectangular vents” into their own gallery walls to create cross-ventilation to fight the high temperatures and humidity until power could be restored.
  • The Institute of Puerto Rican Culture, located in Old San Juan, which oversees the National Gallery, the National Archive and 30 other historic buildings and culturally significant parks, sustained an estimated $1.57 million in damages to its Spanish Colonial headquarters building, with nearly all of the 202 doors, window frames, and shutters from the 1840s, as well as wrought iron railings and brickwork, needing to be repaired. Across all of its properties, the Institute’s total insurance claim could exceed $11 million.
  • Two art museums affiliated with the University of Puerto Rico were hurt by the storm: Museo Casa Roig 45 minutes south of San Juan, and the Museum of Art on the Mayagüez campus on the island’s west coast.
  • The Museum of Puerto Rican Art had a broad, curving wall that was clad in copper sheets that were “peeled off” by the storm along with some of the plywood backing. The museum’s sculpture garden was particularly hard hit, with about 90 percent of the landscaping destroyed.

In many instances, the repairs to these spaces will require not just skilled laborers—who are in great demand as all of Puerto Rico continues to rebuild—but specialized artisans who can work on historic properties with “uncommon stone and brick treatments, wrought iron, carved wood, murals, glass works, mosaics and ornamental landscaping.”

Who will pay for all of this work? Almost certainly not the Puerto Rican government, which was already strapped even before Maria. Insurance will cover much of the damage, and federal agencies like FEMA also have stepped in. The National Endowment for the Humanities sent $30,000 each to the Mayagüez museum and to the Museum of Contemporary Art. The Smithsonian Institution sent $110,000 to the Museum of Puerto Rican Art. “Foundations, universities and fundraising events around the United States” are also providing funds to help with restoration and even outreach. Northwestern University, for example, contributed $100,000 “to train artists working with the Museum of Contemporary Arts to reach wider audiences.”

Importantly, some of the support being channeled to Puerto Rico’s museums will do more than repair the damage from Maria. It will help the island’s arts leaders become better prepared for the next emergency, with improved processes , nd with generators that many of the institutions do not currently have. Marianne Ramírez Aponte is executive director of the Museum of Contemporary Art as well as president of the Association of Puerto Rican Art Museums. She notes that last year’s storm has led this group “to rethink everything about their museums and hurricanes. Many museums did not have emergency operation plans. Some did not have home addresses for staff members. Cellphones and landlines were knocked out. Gasoline and diesel fuel were scarce. The museums became isolated.”

Now, with support from the Smithsonian and FEMA, the museum leaders have begun meeting to consider what lessons they’ve learned that can help them improve emergency preparedness. In addition to new equipment, such as satellite telephones, generators, and extra fuel tanks, the groups have discussed the possibility of “emergency art storage vaults around the island.”

Of course, hurricanes and other natural (and unnatural) disasters can strike anywhere. For museum directors and leaders of other types of cultural institutions, especially those with collections to protect, having a written plan that is periodically reviewed by key staff and board members is a good practice to follow. If your cultural institution does not have such a plan—or has one but hasn’t dusted it off anytime recently—what are you waiting for?—Eileen Cunniffe