Conservation Project

Image of the Museum's Rotunda. Image is copyright San Diego Historical Society

While doing research on the Ford Building, home of the San Diego Air & Space Museum, staff and volunteers came across high quality images of two murals that flank the entrance to the pavilion, from the archives of the San Diego Historical Society. Hanging on the wall in the administration offices is an artist rendering of this same area and with the 75th anniversary of the building just a few months away it was decided that it was high time to check the possibility of restoring these winged figures.

A conservator, Betsy Court, from the Balboa Art Conservation Center, recently visited the Museum to test these two large wall surfaces for traces of the old murals. Unfortunately, she was not able to locate a painted surface beyond the layers of white over plaster. Ms. Court has not yet finished her assessment and might be back, using a technique involving photography. An alternative to the possibility that these beautiful murals were plastered over is the idea that, similar to our March of Transportation mural, the original was painted on canvas and later removed. There is evidence that could have occurred due to the uneven sections in the plaster.

SDASM would like your help in locating additional photographs of this mural, painted in 1935 by C. B. Falls and removed, painted, or plastered over in 1936. Over 2.5 million visitors came to the Ford building in 1935 during the California Pacific International Exposition, someone out there must have a picture or two.

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