1899 Painting Restored Before Your Eyes

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1899 Painting Restored Before Your Eyes

By Lindsey Theis. CREATED Aug 12, 2014

Omaha, Neb. (KMTV)-When you go to the museum you see some masterpieces, but have you ever thought about what goes on behind the scenes to keep them looking so good? Over the years, from paintings to our homes, anything man made is going to wear and tear. Twice a week the Joslyn Museum curators combine the art world and history world. They've brought in a conservator to restore a painting right in front of your eyes.

"We had our eye on cleaning this wonderful piece of Moran's work, 1899 'The Pearl of Venice' and we thought that is was an opportunity to see a little bit of behind the scenes what happened at the museum," Toby Jurovics, Chief Curator at the Joslyn said.

Twice a week, conservator Kenneth Be leaves his workshop at the Gerald R. Ford Conservation Center to work on a Thomas Moran painting.

"It has looked so different to an entire generation or two that have lived in Omaha under this deep, deep yellow discolored varnish," Be said.

Be works slowly taking the sixty year old varnish off, while teaching crowds of visitors about conservation. He uses a special solvent and swabs tested just for this painting.

"I do it very evenly, and carefull. You don't want to try this at home," he said.

It's one of about ninety projects Be does a year through the Nebraska State Historical Society. The process is one that's done all the time in the art world, including on a famous Rembrandt the Joslyn displayed earlier this year.

"It was treated in Amsterdam, but we can do the same kind of work here," Be said.

To see the restoration yourself, stop by the Joslyn Tuesdays from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. or Thursdays 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.