"The Glory of Germania"
History Brought to Light
July 1st - September 10th, 2018
After 32 years in storage, a magnificent piece of German Chicago history reemerged. The DANK Haus was proud to assist in assessing the "Glory of Germania" mosaic in our 4th floor art gallery and presenting this art work to the public once again for a limited time. This amazing piece of Chicago history was on display in the DANK Haus Art Gallery from July 1st - mid-September. It is now in Berlin undergoing restoration for the next three years.
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In 1893, a renowned porcelain manufacturer in Berlin* created a mosaic to represent German contributions in the arts, philosophy, and industry at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago. The piece was the focus of the German exhibit in the Palace of Applied Arts. At the end of the exposition the mosaic was transferred to the Germania Club of Chicago.
*Königliche Porzellan-Manufaktur, Berlin
Soon before the Germania Club closed in 1986, the mosaic was deinstalled with all 1,057 tiles individually wrapped in newspapers and packed into 23 banker's boxes where it remained in storage under the care of the Altenheim - a senior living community - for 32 years. In June, the mosaic was transferred to the DANK Haus gallery where our Museum & Collections staff assisted in unpacking the tiles and assessing the work for damage.
Fortunately, all 38 rows of the center image were packed by row, which simplified the assembly process. The assessment team unpacked each row and photographed the front and back of each tile to create a digital record of the piece.
Row laid out for assessment - face down with markings visible.
Assessment of two rows - face up.
In a matter of days, Germania emerged from 23 bankers boxes...
...to her former glory:
Each row was carefully assembled following simple markings on the back of each tile like on the tile below:
On the tile shown here, the number to the right indicates the row number (32 rows from the bottom) and how many spaces from the left (23rd tile from the left out of 24). Arrows were added to mark the top. As can be expected with a project of this size, not all of the marking were accurate and the assessment team occasionally relied on their jigsaw puzzle skills.
Each row revealed another layer of surprising beauty.
HOW CAN I SUPPORT PROJECTS LIKE THIS?
Consider donating to the DANK Haus Museum to support projects like this! Supporters like you help us to cover the cost of preservation materials, staff salaries, and exhibition costs. Click HERE to send a donation today. Be sure to choose "Fine Arts (Museum, Gallery, Library)" under "Donation Ties."