Preserving, appreciating art at Turner Hall

NEW ULM – The restoration and conservation of Turner Hall’s mural was finished Friday morning.

Bryon Roesselet and Brad Stewart of EverGreene Architectual Arts have worked for the last two weeks to preserve the historic mural.

EverGreene had previously preformed restoration work on the mural a year earlier and had recently returned to finish the remaining sections.

Over the year’s the Turner Hall mural has been patched and repainted on several occasions, however EverGreene’s mission this time around was to return the mural to its former glory.

Roesselet explained many of the past attempts to fix or preserve the mural were done with good intentions, but needed to be redone. Numerous bad patches needed to be removed and re-patched. Since the mural was painted on the inside of exterior walls, the lower sections sustained water damage. Roughly a quarter of the original painting was missing. Past attempts to cover the missing sections included painting over entire sections. Roesselet and Stewart removed the over-paint to expose as much of the original art work as possible, before filling in the missing parts.

While the intention was to remove all past over-paint attempts, some sections of the mural were undisturbed. Roesselet stated that some of the earlier restorations are nearly as historic as the rest the building.

Other subtle restorations included cleaning the mural. Due to the location of the mural, it is has been exposed to less the perfect conditions, gaining a yellow tint. The proximinty to Turner Hall’s kitchen has been a factor. In addition, the restaurant and bar area had not always been non-smoking. “There is a reason you don’t see people smoking in art museums,” said Roesselet.

Despite the mural’s degradation, Roesselet commented that it is serving its purpose better than most museum paintings. “The artwork is getting appreciated this way. More people are likely to see the mural this way.”

If the mural in Turner Hall looked as it did when it was first painted, it would be denied its history. The mural has been a part of Turner Hall for generations, and, through its age, it shows its charm.

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