Daniel Garber: A Wooded Watershed
The Garber mural was commissioned by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in 1926, destined for the Pennsylvania pavilion of the 150th anniversary celebration of our country’s birth. The next year the painting was donated to the Mont Alto campus of Pennsylvania State University, where for sixty-some years it was the stage backdrop for the school’s auditorium. The janitors needed a handy place to get rid of their cigarettes, and when the picture was removed there were huge piles of ancient, fossilized butts strategically located beneath holes burned into the canvas. The Michener bought the mural in 1992 with a special grant from the state legislature, and a team of conservators worked long and hard to fix up the mural. Then we threw a big unveiling party. When the curtain dropped and the audience gasped with pleasure, it was a grand moment in the history of the museum.