Preservationists begin removing historic mural from UT's Univers

Preservationists begin removing historic mural from UT's University Center

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A preservationist applies tissue paper to the surface. A preservationist applies tissue paper to the surface.
The mural was once called the History of Tennessee. The mural was once called the History of Tennessee.

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Efforts got underway Friday to remove a historic mural from the ballroom of the University of Tennessee's soon-to-be-demolished University Center.

UT has brought in a team of experts from architecture and art preservation firm EverGreene Architectural Arts.

The process begins with cleaning the mural. Then, a special fabric will be applied to protect the paint.

After that, the mural will be carefully removed from the plaster wall to which it has been glued for nearly 60 years.

The entire process is expected to take several weeks.

It's actually been tried before, and the last effort was abandoned because the adhesive was too strong.

This time they're planning to start with the same techniques, then step it up with different tools, taking off plaster if need be, but protecting the painting.

"As we take it down, we'll lay it down flat on a table face down, clean any residue off the back and then we'll flip it back over, take the facing tissue back off and roll it onto a tube that will go into another tube for storage by the university," said Brian Roesselet of EverGreene Architectural Arts.

UT's downtown gallery will temporarily store the mural. The gallery is working to set up a showing next summer.

The mural, originally known as the History of Tennessee, was painted by Marion Greenwood while she was a visiting professor.

It was the subject of controversy in the late 1960s due to its depiction of a slave or sharecropper and was vandalized in 1970.

It was later repaired and covered by paneling in the University Center ballroom.

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