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Open House + Showing of
Mason Monterey Furniture

August 16-17th, 2011, MPF Conservation hosted a two day showing of recently conserved and restored Mason Monterey Furniture from the Oregon Caves National Monument. The pieces which were on exhibit are part of a larger collection .The curatorial staff of the NPS has been working toward the preservation and reparation since the NPS became the owners of the collection. Collection surveys outlined the basic damage to the collection prior to the NPS ownership; this is the first phase of reparation, and MPFC was honored to have won the bid.


The purpose of the exhibit was to explain to the public the differences between museum conservation and restoration, as this particular collections has many pieces which were seriously damaged, many by a flood in 1964.

Pieces with original finish intact or original upholstery intact were treated using museum protocol, that is, cleaning, barriers and infill, with the intent being preservation.

Museum paddle-arm on the left with its original conserved upholstery, and colorfully striped paddle-arm to be used in the Chateau, above left. Above right, two Chateau Green A-Frames, one original (right) and one restored (left.) Right, two peplum skirted ladder-backs: the one on the right will go into the museum with its original upholstery conserved.
Below, a Lamp + Table that will go to the museum, along with seven A-Frames which will again be used on the floor of the Chateau.

MASON MONTEREY FURNITUREHowever, many pieces were damaged beyond recognition. The painted finishes were lost in the flood or stripped by refinishers, and the structure of many pieces was damaged to the point where restoration, not conservation, was necessary. MPFC wanted to show what can be done when conservationists use their detective skills and commitment to authenticity to bring a completely devastated piece of furniture back to life. This is unusual in that conservation usually uses strict museum protocol in treating historic pieces;MASON MONTEREY FURNITURE but what does one do when the essential parts of what makes the genre special are gone? In the restoration processes the pieces were restored to a facsimile of their original condition using the processes originally used by the manufacturers to recreate the finish and the structure, as necessary. The restored objects were to be used daily again in a working environment.

Left, a paddle-arm which will be a working piece; center, the two chairs to the left will be working pieces, but the chair on the right will go to the museum; right, a Smokey Maple A-frame. Below, two Horseshoe-back Chairs destined for the museum. Images of the restoration process were displayed next to the completed furniture, below, in this case, the story of the A-Frames.
MASON MONTEREYrestoration processes

MASON MONTEREY FURNITUREOnce the collection returns to the Oregon Caves the working pieces will be divided among various rooms at the Chateau and in the Monument’s museum collection.

Oregon hosts two of the largest public collections of the genre known as "Monterey" in the world: an Imperial line at the Superintendent’s home at Crater Lake NP, and the Mason Monterey collection of 300 pieces at the Oregon Caves NM.

POWELLSKate & Mitchell Powell, were on hand to meet and discuss conservation and restoration processes and the history of Mason Monterey furniture, along with Vicki Snitzler, Superintendent of the Oregon Caves National Monument, and Mary Merryman, Curator of the collection. Other personalities involved in the project were on hand: Brian Petrowski, who worked on the A-frames; Stephen Gossett, who created the iron supports for the paddle-arm shown above in red leather; and Robert Gamblin, whose paints graced the chairs.

In addition, the studio was open to the public, another rare event, with two displays surrounding the processes of upholstery and finish conservation.

Upholstery ConservationFinish ConservationStudio pic

And just for fun, MPFC pulled their own collection of saved
and painted $5-10 garage-sale finds out for guests to sit on!
And yes, Kate will do this to one of your finds!

Kate Powell's Surfer Gurl ChairPowell's chairs
Not Monterey!Not Monterey!Not Monterey!

We thank the Architectural Heritage Center and the Historic Preservation League of Oregon for their support in telling folks about the event, all those who came to support us, and thank Gerardo Calderon for his excellent music!

If you would like to be made aware of future events please sign our guest book.

original aframe design

Note: We are interested in obtaining broken down Mason Monterey (or other brands in the genre, such as Del Rey or Coronado) to repair and possibly restore.

Other pages:

original aframe design


IMPERIAL MONTEREY For information on the Imperial "Monterey" line
used at Crater Lake National Park,
see our page on the three dozen
pieces previously damaged, and restored by MPFC for the
Crater Lake Science and Learning Center.

To see private client images, visit our Painted (Polychrome) + Lacquer Objects.

For more information visit these pages:
Wooden Objects, Traditional Finishes, Institutional Clients or Conservation practice.


original aframe design


We offer a free one hour assessment in your home or office
toward the restoration of your antique, contact us for an appointment.

Contact Information

dkatiepowell [@] / mitchellrpowell {@}
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503.970.2509 / 541.531.2383

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