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Wednesday, May 31 • 3:30pm - 4:00pm
055. (Textiles) Innovation of an Early Unknown Pioneer: Steam jennies, long arms, and battle flag

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An early pioneer from St. Paul, MN, Tom Welter, treated many battle flags between 1964 and 1982. While his work is known by many veterans in the textile conservation community, the documentation of his historic private practice and his influence on modern-day techniques have not been examined until now. 

Welter was an Army Air Corp pilot in both WWII and Korea, who went on to be a sign painter and custom display specialist at Montgomery Ward’s department store. After a two-day tutorial from Katherine Scott in 1964, he developed a method to encapsulate battle flags. Welter went on to use his method of consolidation for many years. Once the treatment was completed, a flag was able to hang from its staff for long-term exhibition. 

During the 18 years that Welter dedicated to conserving battle flags, he frequently used and or modified every day household items and created extraordinary one-of-a-kind equipment. Within this paper I will review the historical equipment and machinery Welter developed during his 18year career. By examining former treatments, journal notes, documentation, and actual equipment, I will show how Welter’s treatment procedures evolved as he employed creative problem solving to preserving battle flags throughout the country.

avatar for Ann Frisina

Ann Frisina

Conservator, Minnesota Historical Society
Ann Frisina began her career at the Textile Conservation Workshop in 1989 where she spent three years under the guidance of Senior Conservator, Karen Clark. While at T.C.W. her work focused on flat 2-dimensional textiles ranging in sizes from small samplers, to larger quilts. Moving... Read More →

Wednesday May 31, 2017 3:30pm - 4:00pm CDT
Riverside West Exhibit Hall Exhibit Level, East Tower
  9. Poster, Textiles
  • Poster # 55