Kelsey Museum Receives Grant to Conserve Magnificent Watercolors

ANN ARBOR, Mich—On April 29, Institute of Museum and Library Services announced a $160,000 grant to the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology at the University of Michigan. The federal grant will help finance the conservation and preservation of a series of unique paintings in the Museum's permanent collection

The large-scale watercolor paintings, which are executed on canvas-lined paper, depict a famous fresco cycle at the Villa of the Mysteries in Pompeii, Italy. The twenty-two watercolors were commissioned by Professor Francis W. Kelsey, the founder of the Museum, and were painted in 1925-27 by Italian artist Maria Barosso.

The rare and magnificent paintings are among the nearly 100,000 objects in the Kelsey Museum, which houses artifacts from civilizations spanning the ancient Mediterranean, and are considered one of the treasures of the Museum.

The grant received by the Museum is a Conservation Project Support grant, which aims to ensure the safekeeping of collections in the nation’s museums by assisting them to implement sound conservation practices. As part of the project, the Museum will create a program to educate its diverse audiences about the conservation of these paintings as well as about the value of collections care and conservation.