Wall murals in Baldwin removed

EAST BALDWIN — The intricate process of removing 22 pieces of historic wall murals from a house takes time, as each piece has to be carefully loosened from its support system, then freed in place and framed for removal after the plaster has been glued to the lathing with heated rabbit glue.

This process has been taking place in nearby East Baldwin all summer since Glenn and Norma Haines made the generous donation of these historic walls in April to the Rufus Porter Museum in Bridgton.

The walls were painted in 1840 by Jonathan D. Poor, a nephew to Rufus Porter who apprenticed to him as a lad and continued a career on his own in Maine painting wall murals.

Considered by historians to be the finest example of work by Poor, the walls were deemed to be in danger by historians and preservationists, as the property is for sale and no protections existed.

Stories on the importance of the walls and the donation have appeared in the Boston Globe, as well as Antiques and Fine Art magazine and Early American Life magazine. Links to these articles can be found on the website.

The museum has overseen the laborious work involved, undertaken by David Ottinger, the leading wall removal specialist in New England, while attempting to raise funds to cover the expense of this unexpected donation. As the process is nearly finished, the Haines will now be able to restore the house and return it to the market for sale.

Anyone able to assist with donations toward this important historic project for Bridgton, may contact the museum at 647-2828. Museum officials are more than halfway toward raising the funds needed, and will appreciate any help available. The public may also donate on the website, www.rufusportermuseum.org, or send it to P.O. Box 544, Bridgton, ME 04009.

Once a new facility in downtown Bridgton is completed, the three rooms of murals including the original woodwork and staircase, will be reassembled for display in their original setting.

Placed alongside the 15 murals from Westwood, Mass. by Rufus Porter, a most unique exhibit will emerge as a national destination for the study of New England wall murals and folk art.

The removal of the walls from the Dr. Norton house by a crane and air ride truck should be finished this week, and the accompanying photos illustrate how difficult the process has been. Many volunteers have helped to make this possible. The Rufus Porter Museum welcomes everyone’s participation.

Please follow and like us: