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Cultural Insights: Interviews in the Creative Sector #8… Brooke Russell, Evergreene Architectural Arts

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Title (Dublin Core)

Cultural Insights: Interviews in the Creative Sector #8… Brooke Russell, Evergreene Architectural Arts
Brooke Russell Oral History, 2020/03/26

Description (Dublin Core)

In response to COVID-19, the Evansville Museum of Arts, History and Science launched the mini-series, "Cultural Insights: Interviews in the Creative Sector," to highlight colleagues and professionals working in the same or similar field of museum professionals.
Brooke Russell, Conservator, Evergreene Architectural Arts

Recording Date (Dublin Core)

Creator (Dublin Core)

Contributor (Dublin Core)

Type (Dublin Core)

video
photo

Controlled Vocabulary (Dublin Core)

Curator's Tags (Omeka Classic)

Collection (Dublin Core)

Collecting Institution (Bibliographic Ontology)

The Evansville Museum of Art, History and Science

Linked Data (Dublin Core)

Date Submitted (Dublin Core)

08/04/2020

Date Modified (Dublin Core)

08/04/2020
09/30/2020
10/22/2020
04/20/2021
04/21/2021
06/11/2022

Interviewer (Bibliographic Ontology)

Tory Schendel Cox

Interviewee (Bibliographic Ontology)

Brooke Russell

Location (Omeka Classic)

47713
Evansville
Indiana
10001
Manhattan
New York
United States of America

Format (Dublin Core)

audio
video

Language (Dublin Core)

English

Duration (Omeka Classic)

00:37:04

Transcription (Omeka Classic)

Tory Schendel Cox 00:01
Hi, my name is
Tory Schendel Cox. And I'm the Virginia G. Schroeder, Curator of Art, the Evansville Museum. And today we have Brooke with us. And she's going to tell us about who she is and what she does and how her profession is changing due to the current circumstance. So Brooke, thank you for your time.

Brooke Russell 00:16
Hi, how are ya?

Tory Schendel Cox 00:18
Well, well, how about yourself.

I'm hanging in there. I'm live. I'm right in the center and ground zero right in Manhattan. So it's a life's been pretty interesting. Pretty interesting. I guess I'll just start off and sort of explain who I am, what I do. For those of us out there who maybe aren't as familiar with architectural conservation. It's very different than museum conservation. We have different degrees. Although we work collaboratively at my company. We do have fine arts conservators on staff. But I initially wanted to pursue a degree in Fine Arts Conservation. And, but what happened was, is I just, it's such a rigorous program to get into and after doing several internships, within Fine Arts conservation, I did a pre-what they call pre program internship at the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, and their paintings conservation lab, I realized that I really wanted to do something a little bit more integrated with the built environment. And so luckily, Columbia University has a wonderful historic preservation program there to current schools that well, there are many historic preservation programs across the US, there are two schools that are probably the forerunners of architectural conservation. And that's Columbia University and University of Pennsylvania. So I went through the Columbia program, which was like, not too shabby [laughs], at all, and concentrated. So my degree is actually a historic preservation degree with a concentration in conservation. And with that, I was able to blend in my love of painting, and murals and apply that onto an architectural surface and an architectural context. So while my backgrounds very, very broad, I can do anything from working on, monuments, stone, brick, terracotta, all the way to all the way up to murals on the interiors, even paintings on canvas. I prefer actually my niche is within more interior environments. I'm working on paint and plaster. And so oftentimes, I will be employed to work on job sites we're sort of part of my company I work for is one of the largest conservation employers in architectural conservation. The company is called evergreen architectural arts. And we have acquired a wonderful firm in DC a couple years ago called Conservation Solutions. So we are our own little division. Well, it's not a little divisions, a large division of about 50 people who are dedicated to conservation within the built environment. And within that each of us have our own niches. And so my niche is paint investigation, and mural conservation. And so paint invest- I mean, mural conservation is pretty much I mean, that's self explanatory. But paint investigation is essentially where I will go into a building and attempt to find the target layers of paint on a wall, or on any architectural surface. And that could mean anything from sponge painting from the 30s, all the way up to decorative stenciling. To sometimes there's large scale, trompe l'oeil, which I've worked on in a couple scenarios faux paneling, faux, y ou know, fake, like wood, fake wood finishes. I mean, the gamut is the spectrum is enormous. So that's basically what I do. And then more specifically, I go inside, I take paint samples, those samples are analyzed, we do not do pigment analysis or like high level, I'll say high level, bench device type laboratory analysis, we send those samples out, we want to understand what the media is, for example, is that a distemper paint? Is it an oil paint, but they're clues that we have we have, we use UV and visible light and microscopes and that can give us enough information to go off of for replication in the future or just for documentation purposes. Yeah.

That's really amazing.

Brooke Russell 04:47
That's my that's my schpeel. Yeah, and so um, in order to it's difficult to get into architectural finishes, Because it's not necessarily a focus in the schools, they of course, it's part of the package that you get. It's part of the basic basic training that you get. But it's not a focus because, of course, most buildings become, and this is why it's so important that we have people who do finishes analysis, because the interiors of buildings are the most ephemeral. And people look at a lot of historic structures. And of course, if the roof goes, the first thing to go is all the paint and plaster. So it makes these finishes all the more precious. And so the fact that I work for a company who's like one of our focuses is to either restore or recreate or conserve these finishes is it's an it's a real joy. I live a very joyous existence, because, to me, those, it's one of the most humane portions of the building. Because it's oftentimes particularly in vernacular architecture. A lot of these buildings obviously are built by architects, but may not be reflective of the people who were living within them. So when you start studying the finishes, particularly like there's some amazing work, not work that I have done, but amazing work out there on tenements in Manhattan, Stephanie Hoagland bond of John- Jablonski Building Conservation has done phenomenal work in this area, you really begin to see who the people are, who lived in these buildings, you know, however temporary, and there's a real humanity to it. You know, I see fingerprints and paint, I see, you know, stencils that are left behind that are hidden behind panels, you really begin to see not only just the craftsmanship, but the who lived there. And why did they choose this finish? Why did they choose that color? Why did they do this room in this manner, and it's some and sh you feel really in touch with history, more so than just you know, cleaning stone, you know, not to be patronizing to people who work on stone, because that's above my head. But for me, there's just a such a human connection with with the past.

Tory Schendel Cox 07:12
I never thought of it like that because you'll hear me talk about a lot how, why I love my job so much is I get to work with these tangible objects that are acquisitions of memories and past and they're visual time capsules and they're vehicles for storytelling. And I know a lot of that could same concept being applied to architecture conservation. That's brilliant.

Brooke Russell 07:34
Yeah, thank you. Well, Wow, thank you. That's my one brilliant moment for the day. served my purpose I can go now. [laughter] It is no, it's true. I think because people are enveloped in buildings, oftentimes, they get lost in buildings, and they don't see that humanity. They don't see that that portion of history, they, they understand that an event occurred there, but there's no evidence of that event. I mean, when you see, you know, when you look at the, you look at old letters, for example. I mean, that's it that's an a tangible that's a tangible piece of history. You see the signature you see the handwriting, it's there's very something very individualistic about it. But when you're walking through stone, marble, you know, marble hallways, there's not a lot of there's individuality in the design, but not in in the actual people who walked through those halls. You go to, you know, George Washington's Mount Vernon. Okay, that's a different story. You're like, Alright, well, he selected these very specific colors for this room, he selected this specific wallpaper for this area, and and why and and what was that saying? And what did it say about the times and so on, so forth. I mean, and it goes, runs the gamut all the way from slaves quarters, you know, in in South Carolina, all the way up to, you know, the wealthiest, most privileged houses in the United States, and I think it's a real shame I, I got interested in architectural conservation, because when I was 14 years old, I had the opportunity to go to Russia during perestroika. So I'm 40. And I went on it was just after perestroika, rather it was 1993. So I was 13 years old. And I remember I had, instead of sending me to St. Petersburg, the government just like change their mind and they were like, Okay, well, you're going to go to Zagorsk [Sergiyev Posad] which is like three or four hours outside Moscow. I think. I've actually no idea exactly where I was. They put us in the back of the car and drove us it was kind of terrifying. I was 13 and I was also like, really angsty so I'm like, this is awesome. You know, I'm out of my parents' house. Anyways, I digress. So I hope you can edit me out. I'm walking through the countryside, I saw a Golitsyn palace. And I realized it was abandoned. And that's where I started getting like hot on ruin porn, because I'd never seen anything like that. You know, in the United States, I grew up around history, I grew up on the east coast. So I'm used to 18th century buildings, like I'm very familiar with them. Having grown up in Maryland, there's a lot of you know, we're very lucky with a lot of 18th century history there earlier, 17th century history, too. In some instances, and I've never seen 18th century history look like that before. And it was really astonishing to me because it was abandoned. They had peeled the gold off of the onion dome. You could walk right up to it. And you can see, they had a conservatory, you could see the ballroom. I mean, it was really just it was just left there. And you know, and then we're continuing on our walk, and there were abandoned factories. And it was like, Oh, my God like this, this history is just rotting here. It's, and in some way it was preservation by neglect. And in other ways, it was demolition by neglect. But when I looked into these houses, I was short, this rather this palace, this country palace, I was just like, oh my God, but all of this interior history is going to be gone. And so when I had the opportunity to explore that more in grad school, it meant a lot to me. I mean, my dad would like we would go on like, you know, like, we didn't go to like theme parks, we would go to graveyards and look at our ancestors graves or we went to Rosewell, which was a ancestors, you know, white history, obviously. So, you know, there's some some difficult history in my my family's past and, but we went to Rosewell, which is an early planters house plantation. And it was just rotting. It was before any historic preservation efforts have been made to take care of it. And I just looked at these these things. And when you see something so naked, and so bare, you can really see the hands that went into it, the quality the wind to it, because I think there's a certain amount of like, like, if you go to like Charleston, which is such a beautiful, beautiful, beautiful city, it's very anesthetized, because it's been restored to such a pristine level. But if you go to like Savannah, for example, it's still a little dirty, it's still a little, there's a patina to it, you know, and you're like, Okay, like, that feels very human. And so I was able to apply that to my career. I mean, that's pretty awesome.

Tory Schendel Cox 12:51
Now, out of curiosity, how many sides do you go to each year?

Brooke Russell 12:57
Well, let's see. I probably go, Oh, that's a really good question. I've never thought about that. I was traveling quite a bit before I got before I was pregnant. But I mean, I would say I was probably traveling last year, I traveled almost six months, out of the year. So it's, it's very intermittent. And so I would travel anywhere from you know, from Dallas, I was traveling a lot to Dallas, I was traveling a lot to Baltimore, we had a job in Baltimore, that was very near and dear to my heart, having grown up there. We're traveling, I was told you, I'd been to Duluth. I mean, I've been to, I haven't been all the way out to California, but I've been to Chicago I've been, I've been to like all these crazy, you know, random theaters in in western Pennsylvania. Catholic churches, it's all over the country. So I mean, I could work on as many as 12 sites within a year easily. Because, like I said, I'm in the front lines. So one of the beautiful things about Evergreen, at least in my mind niche is that I find these I make these discoveries. And then maybe the client wants to replicate those discoveries. And so they have a full team of mural painters and decorative painters and designers who can make that happen. So like, unlike other companies, where they go in and they do the paint analysis, and they do paint reveals, which is when you remove the layers of paint, remove the paint layer by layer down to whatever the target finish is, depending on the interpretation, the interpretation of the building. You know, you don't necessarily always get to watch that process unfold, you're kind of removed to that, okay, you've done your job like, so maybe you get to go back in a couple years or 10 years or whenever the project's done and say, Wow, okay, you know, I helped I helped find this you know, I help make this re visible. But in my company. I get to help along that process soup to nuts. I did a couple couple jobs at the New York Public Library. The yeah, the Ghostbusters building. Yeah. Yeah. Which is really cool. And so um, we've done a lot of work there. But I got to work on the north stair and I got to work on a another stairwell. I'm having pregnancy brain right now blanking on the name, McGraw, the McGraw stair. And, you know, when I'm doing paint reveals I found in the McGraw stair this stencil. And it occurred to me that I might have been the first person in 70 years to see the stencils. Yeah, I know. And you're just like, it's treasure hunting. It's like Indiana Jones, but for, you know, architectural finishes. And so we were able to recreate that, we protected the original. And then we recreated what it was using, you know, non-VOC [volatile organic compounds] because of course, that's always the big issue. Right? You can't recreate it exactly as it was historically, because of the volatile organic compounds. And you're in an active space, which is another thing that can be problematic. And it's just, it's a delight. People are like, Oh my gosh, why would people paint over that? So it's, it is really fun that I get to be a part of that entire process and micromanage it. You know, like, Come on, guys, we got to make this that it's that's the colors too brown or that colors too orange or that's not right, you know? Yeah. So it's really fun.

Tory Schendel Cox 16:47
I imagine. And how long have you been doing this?

Brooke Russell 16:50
Well, I started in conservation. I got I got fired, I was working in fashion. And I got fired in 2006, for good reason I was being real butt, I was I was being very insubordinate because I didn't you know, I'm 20 I'm 22, I was 26 years old. And I was atrophied. I felt so bored. And you know, when you're 26 years old, and you're you think you know everything and you're entitled, you you don't act appropriately, and I was very inappropriate. So I deserved to get fired. And I tell people this all the time, it's the best gift that was ever given to me, because it really made me it was the second time I'd been fired in in three years. And I had, you know, I had to have a real sit and think about it and realize, Oh, this, maybe I'm not in the right career field, like at this point my resumes in the can, you know, like if you've been fired twice in three years, like that's a good indication that are in four years or whatever, that's a good indication that you should probably just move on. And so I've been working in this field, either towards being a conservator or as a conservator since 2006. Yeah, yeah, it takes a long time. It takes a long time to accrue all of the qualifications to get into school.

Tory Schendel Cox 18:16
It makes sense. Did you have a degree in fashion and then switch to Columbia's program? or How did that work for you?

Brooke Russell 18:23
Actually, I did probably what you did, I studied art history. My father was a lawyer, but he really is an art historian. And he and my mom, my mom's very interested in decorative finishes, and, you know, are not decorative, decorative objects. And my father is very interested in particularly Chinese painting. And, and the old masters, so I grew up being kind of, well, it was a deluge of, of art. And, thankfully, and so, I always had like, a very artistic I make, you know, not now because I live in Manhattan, I have no space, but, you know, I made art my entire life. And so I it was an easy way for me to kind of segue into because it was sort of like art had given me so much. So I really wanted to have the opportunity. I know that sounds so like, oh, but you know, it's good. Art had given me a lot. I mean, it really had an educated me and taught me about US history, which I was I've always struggled with and so on so forth. I wanted to be able to get back to that field. And when I walked into my first conservation lab, I was like, it was a true vocation. It was like I'm a nun in the 15th century, and God just called me and this is my job. Now you know what I mean? It was like, that's what it felt like it was like, I was so drawn to it. And I just it was a no brainer at that point. So I took all of my savings and took all the chemistry I could and took my GRE [Graduate Record Examination] classes and And, and just and just made my parents very nervous and, and stayed in New York and and took internship after internship after internship.

Tory Schendel Cox 20:12
Wow.

Brooke Russell 20:13
Yeah, yeah, yeah but you know, I was very interested in going to Johns Hopkins from for grad school for art history and working with Steven Campbell.

Tory Schendel Cox 20:21
Oh, hey.

Brooke Russell 20:23
Yeah, man, Steven Campbell because I was like really into like. So I was like, Oh, I want to work with Steven Campbell, you know, but I tried writing undergraduate thesis and art history, and it was an abject failure. And I was just like, yeah, it was pretty bad. So this is I don't think I'm a writer.

Tory Schendel Cox 20:45
That's a huge portion of what I do. So yeah, it's, it's funny, because I don't know if you keep up with cinema. But I remember seeing the theater after I came home from some study abroad, and I was watching Transformers. And there was this lady with her hair up in a bun with her little Starbucks coffee walking around, give me a tour, and she was the curator that was highlighted in that movie.

Brooke Russell 21:09
Yeah. Oh, no.

Tory Schendel Cox 21:11
It is like maybe 5% of what I do on a daily basis.

Brooke Russell 21:15
Yeah, exactly. It's not it's that's not accurate at all. It's horrible. It's the same thing like I'm like in Ghostbusters 2 second Ghostbusters reference for the day, by the way, that doesn't happen. The Ghostbusters 2and Sigourney Weaver is like working on the paintings. Like you don't just like work on a painting, you don't go from like working in the orchestra. And then go and just become a conservator. Like, it's like, that doesn't just happen. It's really funny how people view our jobs. Because based on what they read, or whatever, and like, you know, in books, that's not the main focus of the, of the plotline per se is to explain how these how these people get their jobs and put people to sleep. But it's, it is really funny, like, we do a lot right now with social media, and sort of the misrepresentation, there's, there's a guy who I'm not gonna say his name, but he does a lot of treatments, he will put a lot of his treatments online. And that's a huge ethical issue for us as conservators, because you're basically telling the public that you can do this at home, and therefore you don't need our expertise. And even worse than that is you could be doing damage on these pieces, and irreparable damage. And I can't tell you how many times I've come across works of art that have been worked on by novices. And that's not to disregard their talent in other spheres. But if you can't fix something that broken sometimes, and it's it can be really gastrous. And it's just very cavalier, I think and so, you know, one of the main jobs of this organization, the American Institute of Architects, American Institute of Architects, good Lord Brooke, the American Institute of Conservation, is to educate the public about the importance of utilizing a trained conservator. You know, it's sort of, I can't think of an analogy for curators, but I mean, I'm sure it's sort of like having somebody with some wackadoo Associate's Degree in whatever. And they come up with these crazy theories that are based on really poorly researched or not, you know, primary, archival research, and they come up with these theories, and they make that, you know, well carved in stone, like, that's what it is. It's kind of similar to that it's, it's really, really infuriating. Because there's so much damage control you have to do, and now it's on the internet. I can't tell you how many videos I get of this dude. And I'm just like, no. You were like, oh, but it's so satisfying to watch. I'm like, No,

Tory Schendel Cox 24:04
No, not when it's the the destruction of beautiful pieces of artwork? So

Brooke Russell 24:08
I mean, in the end to be fairly, you can't see that it's often on a on a microscopic level. But you know, that, that it just it just, it just speeds up the decay? The object? Yeah,

Tory Schendel Cox 24:22
Which is what we're trying, curator and conservator, to either prevent, or definitely de escalate to the best of our abilities. stewardship is one of the most important things

Brooke Russell 24:32
And that relationship between curator and conservator and having that mutual respect. I mean, I've I've certainly witnessed in museums where that relationship is strained, because everybody has their own ego, but where it really works, it works so beautifully. And, and there's a real there's a real force there for for preserving cultural heritage.

Tory Schendel Cox 25:00
Absolutely, and speaking with digitalization of how is your field being affected with the current crisis that is going on?

Brooke Russell 25:09
Well, so right now we're really fortunate because we are nationwide. So we have probably about 25 projects, I believe, between 15 and I think it's between 15 and 25 projects going on right now. At any, you know, which is a reduced number from what we usually have, most of those projects are not conservation, they're restoration based. So they're our bread and butter, which is you know, a lot of plaster work. And a lot of decorative painting and a lot of mural work. Because we do do everything from new builds to, to restoration, and conservation. So those fortunately, are not being affected. But of course, what is affecting it is the lack of personal protective equipment. So PPE [personal protective equipement]. And when this enormous surge, which just enraged me, so much of people purchasing dusk masks, which right now we have to use, because right, we don't have the proper equipment to be able to protect ourselves from this virus. But people went on a mad just out of ignorance, they didn't know that these dust masks are really only going to protect the person you're talking to, they may not protect you, they keep you from touching your face, which is good, but it's not going to prohibit droplets of water containing the you know, coming from your mouth containing the virus, it's not going to necessarily be the same level of protection, it's just not the appropriate tool for the for the need. And so we had just we've been struggling for about almost a month with that. So a lot of our guys have had to be reusing dust masks, and sites had to be shut down. Because they're around things like asbestos and lead and silica. And you need those specific masks for those specific types of toxins and not toxins, what's the word for it? But dangers we'll just say. And well, I mean, I guess there are toxins. But so that's been that's been a huge, hugely a huge problem for us. The other problem, of course, is because we don't work within laboratories, I mean, obviously, the museums are shut down now. We, our job sites, our laboratory. And so those many of those have been shut down. So most of our workers right now, as we're trying to find as much keep people as busy as possible, but that also means travel, right? A lot of people, some of our more senior people who run job sites are in their 60s, and they don't, you know, are in their 50s or 60s, and they don't feel comfortable traveling. So they're on unemployment right now, um, which is, you know, really heartbreaking. You know, they're just trying to get by a lot of like, our conservation team, we have a team of technicians who do the who do a lot of the hands on work are on an unemployment right now. Because the company is just right now, because at any point in time, we could have between 150 and 200 employees based upon because we hire everything from like union employees to as we work with the unions, to what we call just like hourly people. And so it's been, it's been a huge blow, an enormous blow. And people are just trying to stay afloat right now. And so my managers are working really, really diligently in my upper with my upper management to find ways to where we can contribute to the company, maybe not hands on in the field, but maybe like, this is a really good time for us to focus on our website and make sure that all of the conservation pages on the website are up to date and they weren't so that's really good. So they're trying to so right now it's it's been a good thing because we are such a divided company. I guess the corporate term is siloed, that right now we're being more collaborative than ever because all the managers are talking to one another trying to resolve ways to keep us people like myself employed. And all that can do is just make me all the more loyal for this company or this company because I really feel like they're doing the best they can to take care of us and not just us in New York but as nationwide so yeah, it's it's definitely affected. I mean, it's affected everybody but you know, I mean, us particularly in the in the museum industry. How have been hugely affected. without, you know, funding people coming by and seeing, seeing the museums visiting the museums, that's what most of the museums thrive off of survive off of. It's, it's got to be really scary for you guys too

Tory Schendel Cox 30:16
Yeah. There are silver linings to this. And now that we have the time to work on our digital content as what we're doing right now, it's yielding some very interesting opportunities that we just wouldn't have the time to do or the manpower. And getting that digital footprint is extremely important. Because we need to be able to be more assessable to align with those AAM standards of getting your content out there. But when you're a single department head, it's really difficult at times. And I feel like that's a that is an excuse to an extent, but you always have this going on the office that going on the look at the tangible objects, because that is what I'm supposed to do that it's hard to balance what you're supposed to do in house versus what you're supposed to do in the digital content. So really, at this point, I am glad that we're at least the silver lining aspect, I'm glad that we're able to dedicate this time to building this footprint for the museum, because we're going to archive all of this everything that we're doing, and it's going to be relevant, and we're going to be able to share that for years, decades, more to come. So

Brooke Russell 31:28
Yeah, no, absolutely. I mean, I noticed that like, the Baltimore Heritage is doing like a five minute, what is it, like five minute history on landmark buildings in Baltimore. And that's been really, really great. I just think they're all these really great ways that people can utilize this time to promote the good that they do for the communities. We're obviously a for profit company. So we don't do any good for anything. Now, I'm just kidding. But like we, but we are a for profit company. So but I think like doing things like this is great, like just promoting conservation and the importance of conservation, I get into arguments all the time on with people because they're so unfamiliar with the importance of trying to preserve interior spaces. You know, it's it's shocking to me, there's probably like 5,000 New York City landmarks and a couple hundred interior landmarks. In fact, the Rose Reading Room, which you know, is the big reading room at the New York Public Library was just an interior, like the Rose Reading Room and Bill Blass was just made interior landmark like a couple years ago. And it's one of the most important interiors, you know, in New York City. So I think that also speaks volumes about how, you know, people like myself have to really fight for these interiors. I call it the the West Village syndrome, where people will take these beautiful townhouses. And you know, who am I, I can't go up to them and say, don't do this. I mean, I can, I'll just look like a crazy person, though. And they bomb out the interior, they gut the interior, they throw a glass wall on the back of the house, you know, of an 1850s 1860s, Italian brownstone. And it's completely inappropriate, but they've maintained the facade. So for landmarking purposes, that's fine, because the facade is maintained. And so then you're only maintaining really one quarter of the integrity of the house. It's, it's and so you lose like all of this important information about how people decorated their houses, we have ideas, but we don't know for sure. Merchants House Museum and on East Fourth Street is another great example. He did tons of paint studies in there thinking they were going to find all these elaborate stencils because of the time period of the house. It's it's a federal into Greek Revival house, and of course it maintain it stayed in the family from that period. I think it's 1840. Up until 1930 when it was gifted to the to the city as a House Museum. And if you're unfamiliar with it, highly, highly recommend going because it's really, really cool. It's kind of like a curators dream because they were gifted everything that was in the house. I mean, you're smiling, because it's like, you know what I'm talking about, like, that never happens its a unicorn. Well, so they're expecting they're gonna have all this fancy stuff in there because it was an upper middle class merchant who own this house built this house, but what they've people the knowledge that was gleaned from it was so interesting, because it's like, just because they were wealthy didn't mean they wanted to show off that wealth. And so the finishes are really austere. It's really just like paint color. And beautiful plaster. It's not there's no stenciling There's no weird glazing or anything like that. And so it was really, there's just so much more information that needs to be researched so much more work that needs to be done. And, you know, we can't do that work, obviously, if the stuff gets stripped out. So I think it's great, like during these having these opportunities during slower periods are, where we can start really making raising a racket, because we're not distracted by all the day to day tasks we have to do.

Tory Schendel Cox 35:32
[indescernible]

Brooke Russell 35:35
Yeah.

Tory Schendel Cox 35:37
Okay. Anything else you would like to add and tell our viewers?

Brooke Russell 35:42
I would just say like, I really appreciate the opportunity to be able to talk about what I do. I'm crazy about it, it's, I feel honored that I get to work in the work that I do. And I feel really happy that there's a space in our country where we're able to work on this stuff, having, you know, been through like, when I was talking about Russia, like, at the time, they obviously had larger economic hurdles to, to to deal with. And the fact that in our country, we have these opportunities. I mean, we have to continually fight for them, because they're constantly trying to defund it. But that we have these opportunities to be able to focus on our on our heritage and preserve our heritage. And I just think that's really awesome. And so I was really glad that I had this opportunity to speak with you about about a different aspect of preserving heritage.

Tory Schendel Cox 36:37
Again, we appreciate you and your time, this is a whole unique opportunity, because we don't really get to talk to you conservators that often so

Brooke Russell 36:44
Well let me know. I know. Lots of em

Tory Schendel Cox 36:48
I'll follow up on that.

Brooke Russell 36:49
Yeah, let me know.

Tory Schendel Cox 36:51
Absolutely. Again, thank you for your time. And this is an Evansville Museum recording and Brooke, thank you again, and don't be a stranger and we'll have to talk soon. So

Brooke Russell 37:00
I look forward to it. Thank you.

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