Eye of the Archive: A Gold Medal Effort

All of this Olympic’s buzz is infectious! Wowie, those figure skaters! The Flying Tomato sent it out of the park to win America’s 100th gold medal; the local boys are looking good for their freestyle comps; and there’s not much more exciting than watching Michaela and Lindsey speeding down the slopes! I’m not sure I’ve quite figured out curling and bobsled speeds turn my stomach in knots, but the spirit and energy of the games reminded me of another gold-medal effort underway at AHS…

You may remember when I waxed poetic about my history crush, Mrs. Ella Stallard, and her portrait that AHS is raising funds to restore. Last week I had to part ways with the crayon photograph depiction (sniff), but not to fear, our extended separation is for good reason. Ella is on a journey headed to the fine folks at the Conservation Center for Art & Historic Artifacts in Philadelphia, PA! Her portrait will reverse the course of the real-life Ella’s 1890 pilgrimage West, though on a much quicker schedule. I was loathe to spend Valentine’s Day without my crush, but I know she went off in good hands, thanks to our friends at “Art Forward” who have partnered with AHS to support shipping the piece. Prior to her trip to the conservators, AHS archivists reunited the portrait with its original frame. May I say, she looks more beautiful than ever and I can’t image how perfect she’ll be once conservation is complete!

Ella Stallard Portrait

Ella in her original frame.

I know she’ll come back good as new and am in awe of the commitment on behalf of AHS to restore the artifact and the support from donors First Western Trust and Denver Foundation Greenwood Fund and partners Art Forward. From fundraising efforts (there’s still a bit more $ to raise, if you’re interested in supporting) to packaging and shipping to restoration work to come in PA, this project tops the podium in my eyes! The energy is palpable here in Aspen these days, with many local heroes participating in the Olympic games. Once it is restored, the portrait will help memorialize the legacy of a local heroine from another era, Ella Stallard!

A.B.
(Archive Building)

The “Eye of the Archive” blog post series, authored by A.B. (personified AHS Archive Building), offers an insider’s glimpse into the goings-on at Aspen Historical Society. Tune in for posts about the Collection, restoration projects, exhibit tid-bits, news around town, and more.

AHS began raising the funds necessary to restore the artifact in 2017, and has already received generous donations towards the project from First Western Trust and the Denver Foundation Greenwood Fund, as well as shipping support from Art Forward. For information about supporting this effort, contact Development Director Kelly May at 970.925.3721 or kmay@aspenhistory.org

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