Conservation image

In March 1996 the roof of the Na Bolom Museum, located in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico, was conserved through a project of the GCI Director's Office. The conservation work on the roof was supervised by architect Ignacio Moreno, who was assisted by local architects, construction workers, and the museum's staff. Just prior to the roof renovation, the curator of the collections, Susanna Ekholm, and GCI consultant Kathryn Klein implemented preventive conservation methods to protect the museum's collections during the reconstruction work.

While the roof renovation constituted architectural conservation—Na Bolom Museum is housed in a historic late 19th-century building—the main goal of the project was to preserve the rich cultural institution the building contains. For the last 40 years, Na Bolom (which means "house of the jaguar" in Lacandon Maya) has, with minimal funding, supported cultural and ecological projects within the Maya Lacandon communities of the Chiapas rain forest and operated as a center for scholarly research. The cultural resources located at the Na Bolom Museum include archival materials, archaeological objects, colonial paintings, a library of rare books focusing on Mesoamerican studies, an ethnographic collection representing the Maya people of Chiapas, and a series of historical photographs by Gertrude Duby Blom and archaeologist Frans Blom, the founders of the museum.

The restoration of Na Bolom's roof was one of several initiatives undertaken by the GCI at the museum. In October 1994 GCI's Special Projects sponsored a conservation survey of the museum's photographic collection, performed by conservator Nora Kennedy. Earlier that year GCI consultant Kathryn Klein conserved the Lacandon ethnographic exhibit with the assistance of Maya weaver-conservators.