Saving Gasconade County History
The Archives & Records just completed a conservation project with two seriously endangered pieces of Gasconade County history. The flag is a WWI Gasconade County flag, each star on the flag representing a serviceman from our county, and meant for display. The banner is a hand-painted Swiss Society Helvetia banner. It is likely that the banner was carried in parades and displayed at Society functions.
Some time ago the flag and banner were discovered in the basement of the Gasconade County Courthouse. They were brought to the attention of Cindy Browne at Deutschheim State Historic Site. Cindy made GCHS aware of them and the GCHS Board of Directors decided that the Society should accept the items. Thanks go to Cindy Browne, who housed them at DSHS for a year or more, and was the key link in preventing the items from being destroyed.
The ARC accepted the responsibility of conserving and preserving these historic pieces. The ARC consulted with the Missouri State Archives, who sent personnel to view the items and who provided counsel on how to proceed with conservation and with the appropriate materials for conservation and preservation.
Each of the items was first placed on a layer of acid-free tissue, which had been placed on a layer of muslin-type fabric. Then all metal and wood was removed. Next the flags were layered with more acid-free tissue. Finally, the flags with all the layers were rolled around a tube and secured with ties.
Currently the flags are housed on the top of shelving in the ARC reading room and are no longer in danger of further damage. They came to GCHS “just in time.”