Historic Stained Glass Restoration Project: Pearl Harbor WindowMartin Faith
Sometimes, stained glass restoration is performed to repair windows that have been damaged due to vandalism or an accident. However, it’s also a viable solution for preserving historic artwork that has suffered the impacts of time and exposure to the elements. Recently, we had the opportunity to be involved in an exciting historic stained glass restoration project. Our Houston team traveled to Hawaii to restore a famous piece of artwork known as the Pearl Harbor Memorial Window. Below, we’ve recounted our experience in detail.
Stained Glass Conservation: The Pearl Harbor Memorial Window
The Pearl Harbor Memorial Window is a beautiful piece of art made entirely from stained glass. The window is located in Moanalua Community Church, a non-denominational church in Honolulu, Hawaii. It is massive in size and is forty-four feet across and thirty feet high. There are about 140 separate sections of stained glass. Painted on the stained glass are beautiful images representing religions from around the world as well as the various branches of the U.S. military. It is a lovely tribute to those who have devoted their life to service and a historically significant work of art.
Unfortunately, the window was starting to show signs of deterioration. Its oceanside location resulted in continuous exposure to salt and strong winds. The wood on the outside was rotting. And the stained glass had begin to buckle and crack in various places. The church elders decided that stained glass conservation would be necessary if they wanted their window to be enjoyed by future generations.
Repair & Restoration Process
We were called in to evaluate the condition of the stained glass and create a plan for repairs. When we arrived, we saw that about 30% of the panels were in critical condition. While the other 70% were in okay condition, these badly damaged windows would need to be removed and repaired immediately.
We decided that the best approach was to remove the panels and ship them to our studio by ocean freight. We built custom wood crates for transporting the stained glass and had it sent to our studio. Once it arrived in our shop, we worked on repairing the damaged elements. As stained glass conservationists, we try to be cautious about what we replace. We always try to reuse as much of the original materials as possible. To repair the panels, we reused what we could and assembled the pieces back together again. Then, we shipped them back to the church.
We flew back out to Hawaii and met the stained glass onsite. Then, we used lift equipment to reinstall the stained glass and secure it safely in place. The newly restored panels will last about 100 years and the other 70% should remain in good condition for at least a few years longer, allowing the church to save up funds for the rest of the repairs. The church elders were very pleased with this outcome.
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If you would like more information on this project or our stained glass restoration services in Houston, please contact our office.