Theses (Historic Preservation)

Document Type

Thesis or dissertation

Date of this Version

January 2008


A thesis in Historic Preservation Presented to the Faculties of the University of Pennsylvania in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements of the Degree of Master of Science in Historic Preservation 2008.
Advisor: John Hinchman


In December of 2003, a portion of the plaster Exhibit Hall ceiling at the Wagner Free Institute of Science fell two stories, causing concern as to the stability of the remaining plaster. Replacement of the entire plaster ceiling was suggested as a response to the fallen piece and the extent of cracking.

While plaster, as a finish material, is often considered replaceable and may not be considered a high priority for conservation, the Exhibit Hall ceiling is historically significant and worth preserving. For a site of historic significance such as the Wagner, total replacement should only be considered if the ceiling is in imminent danger of falling and if the current conditions cannot be successfully mitigated by more sensitive conservation methods such as reattachment.



Date Posted: 14 July 2008