Sons of Italy Mural, Saved from Fire, Being Restored at Durham Museum
On January 13, 2017, a two alarm fire ripped through the Sons of Italy Hall, a former carriage house in Omaha’s Little Italy Neighborhood. In March, the Sons of Italy board voted to renovate the building, which is set to reopen next summer. The only piece to survive the fire is a 22-foot long mural depicting a Sicilian landscape. The mural, painted in 1952, hung on the wall in the original Caniglia’s Pizzeria for 65 years until the restaurant closed.
The Durham Museum, as Omaha’s home to history, has provided space for painting conservator, Deborah Uhl to remove smoke and water damage from the painting’s surface that was inflicted during the fire. “This is a fitting place for the project to take place,” said Christi Janssen, the Durham’s Executive Director. “Preservation is core to our mission and we’re proud to assist the Sons of Italy in saving this iconic piece of the Omaha community.”
Uhl is no stranger to The Durham Museum as she did the conservation work on the Suzanne and Walter Scott Great Hall murals in 2008 and the Swanson Gallery murals in 2009. She will be working Monday-Friday during museum hours and guests are welcome to stop by and see her in action. The conservation treatment is scheduled to be complete by Thanksgiving and the mural will be on display at the museum until the Sons of Italy Hall reopens.