Albert Bierstadt’s The Domes of the Yosemite is back home at the St. Johnsbury Athenaeum. In October 2017, ArtCare Conservation carefully removed The Domes from its massive frame, rolled it onto a large cardboard tube, and drove it to Miami, Florida. Once there, they repaired a tear in the canvas, adhered the canvas to a liner backing to protect it from future stress, stripped off the old synthetic varnish, and applied a natural varnish which brought out the vibrant colors not seen properly in decades. Then beginning in January 2018, The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum in Winter Park, FL proudly displayed The Domes, the first time it had been seen outside The Athenaeum since its Art Gallery opened in 1873.
The transformation of Albert Bierstadt’s The Domes of the Yosemite is spectacular: what once looked like a valley shrouded in mist now appears as a nearly 3-dimensional view of this glorious natural American landscape. Special thanks to ArtCare Conservation, The Elizabeth Morse Genius Foundation, the USDA, and the hundreds of donors who supported the restoration of The Domes and the installation of a state-of-the-art temperature and humidity control system.
A National Historic Landmark since 1996, The Athenaeum continues its renovations and improvements to maintain its beauty and cultural relevance. Projects include a complete Athenaeum renovation in 2001, renovation of the Fairbanks Children’s Library in 2010, new skylights in the Art Gallery in 2011, and now the restoration of The Domes of the Yosemite. We look forward to additional projects at The St. Johnsbury Athenaeum as we plan a celebration for our 150th Anniversary in 2021.