Help Put Liberia on the Top 10 Endangered Artifacts List

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City of Manassas, VA . . . The Civil War-era writing–or graffiti–on the walls of the historic 1825 Liberia House in Manassas is competing for a place on this year’s Virginia’s Top 10 Endangered Artifacts list. The public can help Liberia make the list by voting at www.vatop10artifacts.org from Aug. 4 through Aug. 23. The campaign from the Virginia Association of Museums is designed to create awareness of the importance of preserving artifacts in care at museums, libraries and archives throughout the Commonwealth and in the District of Columbia.

The Civil War graffiti on Liberia’s walls was discovered recently when conservators removed wall coverings as part of the home’s restoration process. Although only a few signatures are fully visible, it is believed that many more exist throughout the house. Uncovering more will require more funds and more painstaking work by expert conservators.

Liberia Plantation held a central role throughout the Civil War. It was first occupied by Confederate forces, and later occupied by Union soldiers.
Both Confederate President Jefferson Davis and President Abraham Lincoln visited the house. The signatures uncovered so far belong to Union soldiers, but those troops may have covered over thesignatures of Confederate soldiers to write their own names. The most promising location for graffiti recovery
is an upstairs room that sustained major water damage from a formerly leaky roof. Preserving this graffiti will depend on a delicate combination of plaster repairs and paint removal.

Collecting institutions from across Virginia and D.C. have nominated items that they believe tell a significant story and deserve to be recognized on this prestigious “Top 10 List.” These items may be ones that are currently being conserved, have a plan to be conserved or are simply in need of conservation. The campaign showcases the importance of Virginia’s diverse history, heritage and culture and the role that artifacts play in telling those stories.

Nominations will be reviewed by an independentpanel of collections and conservation experts. Top 10 honorees, as well as a “People’s Choice” honoree, will be announced Sept. 9. Public voting will be a factor as the panel makes its final selections.

The first floor of Liberia House will be open during the Manassas Civil War Weekend Aug. 22-24. Special graffiti tours showcasing the second floor will be offered on Aug. 23 at 10:45 a.m. and 1 p.m. and on Aug. 24 at 10 a.m. and 12:15 p.m. Space for the special tours is limited and donations are welcome. Visit www.manassasmuseum.org to learn more about Liberia’s restoration efforts and to make a donation for graffiti preservation.

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