New Book Details Restoration of the Cà d’Zan Mansion
SARASOTA, Fla. – Feb. 26, 2007 – The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art releases the comprehensive account of the restoration of the Cà d’Zan with its new release, Cà d'Zan, The Restoration of the Ringling Mansion.
Authored by Michelle Scalera, chief conservator of the Ringling Museum, and edited by Deborah Walk, curator of historical documents and Tibbals curator of the circus museum at the Ringling Museum, the 66-paged book gives a stage by stage, room by room, detailed description of the $15 million dollar restoration process.
“Not only does the book outline the art and science that goes into such a massive restoration project, but it shares the story of John and Mable Ringling’s life and love for the Cà d’Zan,” said Executive Director Dr. Wetenhall, “The book will be a fitting memento for visitors to the Museum who experienced one of Sarasota’s most treasured and historical landmarks.”
As a 25-year employee of the Museum, Scalera has been involved in the restoration from the beginning. In the 1980’s a $49,000 grant was obtained to fund an object-by-object assessment of the condition of all interior furnishings of the home. In
1996, full restoration work began in three phases and the Mansion was reopened to much fanfare in April 2002.
The book first outlines the historic elements of the original construction and then details the three phases of restoration -- "Sealing the envelope (the exterior)," "Mechanical Systems Overhaul" and "Installation and Interpretation" of the Mansion’s furnishings based upon historical images.
"Through the expertise of preservation architects, structural and mechanical engineers, electrical technicians, conservators, curators and artists from around the world, Cà d'Zan was returned to the time of John and Mable Ringling," Scalera writes in her concluding paragraphs.
To hold that picture, she talks of the need to continue maintenance, required upgrades and "improved and evolving interpretations."
That theme is picked up by Dr. John Wetenhall, Ringling executive director, in his "Welcome" at the beginning of the publication. "As a cautionary tale. . .", he notes, "such a project [the restoration] should have required only a fraction of those millions, had caring and forward-looking maintenance been administered all along.”
Throughout are historic photographs from the museum's archives and new photographs by Giovanni Lunardi Photography of Sarasota. Printing and separations are by Serbin Printing & Publishing of Sarasota.
Included as appendices are a floor plan layout, restoration "facts," and a list of companies and professionals involved in the restoration, making it an excellent reference source.
Providing funding support to the publication was the state Bureau of Historic
Preservation, the Florida Historical Commission and Michael Saunders & Co.
The book is a recent winner of an Addy Award for the overall aesthetics and content of the book. It is available for $14.95 in gift shops at the Mansion and the Visitor's Pavilion on the Ringling grounds. The Ringling Museum Store is located in the Visitors Pavilion at the Museum’s main entrance. It is open from 10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. daily. Museum members receive a 10 percent discount on all Museum Store purchases. Call 941.359.5700 or visitwww.ringling.org for additional information.