AVON LAKE — History and its documentation can literally become old and faded.
But a new exhibition of historic photos, prints, drawings and paintings is being brought back to vivid life for the community.
Known collectively as the Avon Lake Local History Art Collection, the newly restored items are on view in the McMahan Room of the Avon Lake Public Library.
Many of the images may be familiar to residents who recall the “Images of America” series volume assistant library director Gerry Vogel wrote on Avon Lake.
“Many of the items had been neglected and were deteriorating,” Vogel said. “Some had not been framed very well, and were starting to look somewhat shabby. The collection lacked a coherent theme.”
Following restoration work done by local artist Catherine Nowak, owner of Vintage Gallery, the photos, paintings, and other depictions of the city’s history “look like they belong there now,” Vogel said. “It really knocks you out when you walk in the room.”
All of the pieces of Avon Lake history had been donated to the library over the years, with a number having been displayed in the library when it was built in the 1950s.
Vogel credited Nowak’s careful work with bringing many of the aging items back to archival museum standards.
Just over $12,000 was spent to restore the photos, paintings, drawings, maps, etc., that illustrate various facets of local history including vintage homes, landmarks and Lake Erie shipping.
Money to restore the collection came from investments and interest.
“That way we spent no public operating money,” Vogel said. “All of the funds are held with the Community Foundation of Lorain County.”
Some of the photos and drawings were 100 years old, according to Nowak.
“They were in brittle condition … faded and dirty,” she said. “Frames were falling apart on tomes.”
The restoration required a great deal of work to clean photos, drawings and other items, and re-touch photos, Nowak said.
She built new frames for some items, while refurbishing a handful of “nicely constructed antique frames” for others.
The latest archival techniques were applied to some paintings, drawings and other items.
“I used preservation materials that contain no acids or other elements that would further deteriorate them,” Nowak said.
“This way, they won’t be subject to fading and browning.”
Send your Avon and Avon Lake news to Steve Fogarty, 329-7146 or email@example.com.