Oregon Caves NM Museum Collection

MPF Conservation conserved and/or restored two dozen pieces of Mason Monterey furniture which were bought for the Chateau at the Oregon Caves National Monument (NPS). Some of these were to be used on the floor of the Chateau, but some were sent to the Museum Collection. This page shows the Museum Collection only.

Right, Mary Merryman and John Roth placing items in the Museum Collection room.

We are updating this page;
please excuse our mess!

Note: in each pair of two images here and below, the first is before treatment, the second, after treatment. Many of these items have their own pages dedicated to their treatment processes.

Much of the damage done to the sturdy chairs happened during the flood of 1964, when many pieces went out a broken window. If you want to know more about the history of the collection, including the flood which damaged many items, go to the History of Mason Monterey page.

Two Polychrome Mason Horseshoe-back Monterey Chairs

The size of these two chairs is more generous, as are gaming or side chairs to sit on in a living room rather than dining room chairs. There are four in the collection; these are the first two to be conserved. All will be part of the Museum Collection.

Before treatment, images of three chairs, right.

Below, after treatment images of the Straw Yellow and Spanish Blue Geometric Horseshoe-Back Mason Monterey Chair circa 1930, left, and Straw Yellow and Straw Ivory Floral Horseshoe-Back Mason Monterey Chair circa 1930 right. These have their own page on treatment under Institution: Oregon Caves NM.

“Chateau Green” Mason Monterey A-Frame Dining Chair circa 1930

It is likely this chair did not go out the window in the flood. The original finish was in good to fair condition, including the decorative motif on the splat. though there was a broken and repaired leg. This chair was an excellent reference for the splat colors when investigated by Gamblin Artist Colors (see page on the process).

The original color is different from Spanish Green which is seen in other pieces in the collection. The base color is lighter and leans toward a minty green. The Smokey Maple top coat is quite subdued, though we think this is from years of the finish rubbing off, and includes paint oxidation, rather than the intention at the outset. The overall appearance is a minty green. We dubbed this color “Chateau Green” and hope it sticks! 

MPFC reproduced several A-Frames for the Chateau, In the final image left, the reproduction chair sits left of the with the historic chair. We believe this is the way the original Chateau Green A-frame looked when new, and look forward to it aging gracefully.

“Chateau Orange” Mason Monterey Lamp circa 1930

This extraordinary lamp was severely compromised and we were happy it survived as we’ve never seen another.

The table top was broken in three pieces, but thankfully a good portion of the original paint survived. The table top was repaired, shown left.

Because the lamp was slated for the museum and not for reuse in the Chateau, the curator, Mary Merryman, chose not to have us infill the wood with even a basic single color, shown left.

We thoroughly cleaned the original finish, which is shown in the second image of each type below.

The original base apricot color is unlike any orange we have previously seen in the Mason Monterey line. We dubbed this color “Chateau Orange” and hope it sticks.

Mary Merryman agreed to have us paint one of the completely stripped A-frames to match this color, shown on the A-Frame page; we do not know if the A-Frames ever came in this color.

Note: in each pair of two images, the first is before treatment, the second, after treatment.

Upholstered Old Wood Paddle-Arm Mason Monterey Wingback Chair circa 1930

The original orange and cream slubbed cotton burlap-weave upholstery fabric was intact and in good condition, though it was quite dirty.

It was perplexing that the fabric was in good condition, but the finish was severely compromised, and missing quite a lot of the original paint. Because of the good condition of the fabric, it is unlikely this was damaged in the flood, however, MPFC never resolved the mystery of how the original upholstery survived in good condition, while the finish was severely compromised!

Straw Yellow Polychrome Mason Monterey Woven Leather Side Chair circa 1930

This side chair was used in the lobby of the Chateau until the day it was retrieved by MPFC.

The Straw Yellow finish was in poor condition, worn and filthy with grime from decades of use with greasy hands, however, the decorative “River of Life” in Chateau Orange was intact. MPFC cleaned the chair and preserved the original finish; no infill was necessary.

The original woven leather strapping seat was in fragile condition with one break, but as the chair was not to be sat in, and the upholstery was cleaned and repaired with a bandage underneath. Red rot was treated to slow down the degradation.

The sagging leather back was an inappropriate replacement in the image above left. It was nto even the proper type of leather. Because of this MPFC replaced the leather back. We hand colored the leather then buffed and distressed it to match the patina of the older historic leather seat.

The historic hand-forged decorative nails were also missing. These were recreated and set into the original conserved nail positions along the outer sides of the back stiles. You can read more about replacing the decorative nails on all the chairs in the page on the Creation of the Decorative Nails.

Smokey Maple and Straw Yellow Mason Monterey Wood Boxes circa 1930

Two original wood boxes once graced the massive fireplace in the Chateau, shown above. We did not have the good fortune to conserve them (limited funds) but we were instrumental in their removal to the Museum Collection. We would love to see them conserved, in this case, having the soot and grime gently removed so the finish does not deteriorate further.

We were able to reproduce one for the Chateau floor, and so there is a replicate wood box next to the fireplace at this time, shown right.

And still, 20 years later, we’ve not seen another one!

Smokey Maple Ruffled Peplum Mason Monterey Ladder-back Chair circa 1930

Two chairs came together to create one chair for the Museum! Above, the two chairs, one with a badly damaged show cover, left, and one with a show cover which needed repair but was accceptable, right.

The frame joinery in both was compromised and coming apart, which included one unusable split leg. Finish was in fair condition on both.

We borrowed parts from the two chairs to create one museum-worthy ladder-back, parts shown left.

Fabric shims were used with warm hide glue to secure many loose connections, above, while other times veneer shims were utilized.

After assembly the chair was left to cure for several days in clamps until the frame was stable, above.

New parts were created for the second chair, which became part of the Chateau Collection in use on the lobby floor (with a new ruffled seat in the spirit of Mason Monterey).

The second chair, shown left in the image right, is used on the Chateau floor today.

The best original fabric seat was mended and cleaned, then reattached after the frame cured, bottom right. The second unused fabric seat was cleaned and sent to Museum Storage.

Below, the Chateau Collection‘s Peplum Chair circa 1930 with the new seat!