A Grand Revitalization

Joe Nester - Friday, June 22, 2018
A Grand Revitalization

The Grand Theatre's original sign was discovered in the basement of the property by contractors during the renovation process. Contractors and current owners/staff of The Grand had the sign crated and moved off site and contacted us to perform an assessment of the sign's condition. Carolina Conservation performed an inspection of the sign and relocated it to their studios in Irmo. Detailed examination of the sign revealed the structural and asthetic components to be in very poor shape. Original wood was rotted away and metal components were severely corroded and rusting. The sign's original colors were revealed during analysis and inspection of paint layers from the original hand painted lettering on the sign. Original wiring was present, but no longer functional. The poor condition of the sign is a result of having been essentially dumped into an environmentally unstable storage area decades ago.


In order to restore the sign, much of the structurally unsound, and otherwise compromised materials will need to be removed during complete disassembly of the sign. Where possible, original elements including sheet metal, lettering, and hardware will be reused as a part of the restored sign along with newer materials that will be synthetically "aged" or distressed to match the condition of the original elements. The current owners have requested that we not make the sign look "new" again, as they would like to retain the character of the distressed sign with all of it's age related patina and oxidation. We will be fabricating new support elements for the sign as well as installing new wiring so that the sign is safe to display and will function as it did nearly 100 years ago.

The conservators working on the sign have completed masters degrees in conservation science and regularly treat objects with cultural and historic significance, such as this sign. Conservation is all about stabilizing and preserving items with historic and cultural value for future generations to appreciate. If you'd like to learn more about us, please let me know. I'm attaching a few photos for you to review.

Ben Umberger, Managing Partner Carolina Conservation




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