WPA Wood Carving Restoration Project

WPA Wood Carving

The wood carving on the ground floor is one of the most well-known pieces of art in the Central Library.  Located opposite the elevator, the carving depicts key local events before and during the Revolution: the 1774 confiscation of munitions from the Powder House by British soldiers; the 1776 raising of the first flag of the united colonies on Prospect Hill; and the establishment of George Washington’s citadel during the Siege of Boston in 1775.

WPA Wood CarvingThe making of the carving was funded by the Works Progress Administration’s Federal Art Project and was given to the library in 1939.  Since then the carving has not been only appreciated by the public, but also—since it’s in a hallway that gets a lot of foot traffic—suffered a lot of bumps and nicks  (left). So in 2018 the library applied for Community Preservation Act funds to have the carving moved to a safer location, protect it further by having a stand made to elevate it a few inches above the floor and pay a conservator to do repair and restoration work.  The city’s Community Preservation Act Committee made the library a generous grant to make this happen.

WPA Wood CarvingA key part of the project was completed this week when Roy Carreiro of Home Modification completed the stand (right)—sanded oak with mitered corners and Jacobean stain. The next steps—delivery of the stand to the library, moving the carving upstairs and installing on the stand—should happen soon.

The Library thanks the City of Somerville’s Community Preservation Act Committee for providing the funding for this project.


THANK YOU Community Preservation Act Committee! How wonderful to have this work in such a visible location, and now in a safer location too. Good work!

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