THE SAVE THE ROBE PROJECT

Image Courtesy of the Save The Robe Campaign

From their website:

Preservation Virginia, owners and operators of the John Marshall House, and the John Marshall Foundation have partnered together to “Save the Robe,” a campaign to conserve the only surviving judicial robe of Chief Justice John Marshall.

John Marshall’s robe, owned by Preservation Virginia, is in a fragile state due to acid hydrolysis from the dye and iron mordant used to achieve its deep shade of black. Without immediate stabilization and documentation, this important artifact could be lost forever. Howard Sutcliffe, principal conservator and director of River Region Costume and Textile Conservation, has agreed to perform the conservation. Sutcliffe’s previous projects include conserving Tiraz fragments from Medieval Egypt, Tzar Nicholas II’s parade uniform and the original Kermit the Frog puppet.”


The Save the Robe Campaign has been running since mid-2019, and according to Kevin Walsh, they have completed the fundraising needed to restore the robe to save it from disintegrating. However, fundraising is still needed to reach their “stretch goal”, in which they hope to build exhibits and educational programming to teach about the importance these robes have to the United States history and the Supreme Court.

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