Nagaur Fort Interior Courtyard with Foundation
The following are highlights from twenty years of Getty Foundation grants for the conservation of some of the world's most significant historic buildings, in the United States and around the world.


Fallingwater
 
Fallingwater, Mill Run, Pennsylvania
Designed in 1935 as a vacation home for Pittsburgh department store magnate Edgar J. Kaufmann, Fallingwater is widely regarded as one of Frank Lloyd Wright's masterpieces, with its dramatic cantilevered terraces soaring over the waterfull that inspired its composition. Over the years, moisture, structural stress, and the elements took their toll on this National Historic Landmark. In response, the Getty Foundation awarded a three-year implementation grant to conserve the building and its Wright-designed interior furnishings. The conservation program including training for college interns and Fallingwater's maintenance staff in conservation techniques for 20th century building materials. The project built on early research and planning work funded by a Getty grant.
Grants awarded: $70,000 (1998), $250,000 (2000)



San Xavier del Bac
 
Mission San Xavier del Bac, Tucson, Arizona
Located on the Tohono O'odham Reservation outside of Tucson, Arizona, the Mission San Xavier del Bac is designated as a National Historic Landmark and is considered to be one of the finest surviving examples of 18th century Spanish colonial architecture. Getty support enabled careful planning and analysis, followed by a full conservation of the building's exterior that involved training of local community members to ensure long-term maintenance.
Grants awarded: $14,300 (1995), $250,000 (1998)



Save America’s Treasures poster
 
Save America's Treasures, Washington, D.C.
In 1999 the Getty provided a major grant for the Save America's Treasures program for the preservation planning of historic buildings and sites across the country. The program was a partnership between the White House Millennium Council and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Projects supported through Save America's Treasures included Harriet Tubman's home in Auburn, New York; the Angel Island Immigration Station in San Francisco, California; and Gustav Stickley's home in Morris Plains, New Jersey, among others.
Grant awarded: $1,100,000 (1999)


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Baltit Fort
 
Baltit Fort, Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan
The 14th century Baltit Fort is an important relic of the historic Silk Road that connected China to Northern India and Europe. Despite its survival for hundreds of years as residence of the Mirs of Hunza, the ruling family of the region, the monument faced natural decay and the pressures of increasing urbanization after it was abandoned in the mid-20th century. Getty support through a partnership with the Aga Khan Trust allowed conservation of the building, blending modern technology with traditional local techniques, and resulted in the culturally and environmentally sensitive reuse of the site as a museum and community center. The project was recognized with a UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Award of Excellence in 2004.
Getty grant: $195,000 (1992)


La Merced
 
Basilica and Convent of Nuestra Señora de la Merced, Quito, Ecuador
Centered in the UNESCO World Heritage City of Quito, the Spanish colonial Basilica and Convent of La Merced was constructed in the 16th century with major repairs in the early 18th century following damage from a major earthquake. In 1990 the Getty awarded a grant to the Curio Provincial de la Merced for stabilization of the church's bell-tower and for a survey of the historic fabric. This grant was followed in 1993 with a project implementation grant to the Fundación Caspicara for stabilization and conservation of the Basilica and Convent. Project work included structural stabilization, consolidation of the roofs, consolidation of the exterior and interior stucco, repair of the floors, and restoration of doors and windows. On-the-job training of local workers and students in historic preservation formed an important part of the work that was carried out with Getty funds.
Grants awarded: $50,000 (1990) and $125,000 (1993)


Udaipur
 
City Palace Complex, Udaipur, India
The Maharana of Mewar Charitable Foundation, a public charitable trust responsible for development projects in Udaipur, received two grants to support conservation planning for the City Palace Complex. Begun in 1559, the building complex is a consummate model of medieval Rajput architecture combined with later Mughal additions. Despite these various layers, the fortress exhibits a uniformity of design with its stone carvings, cupolas, and projecting balconies, making it one of the most majestic structures in the state of Rajasthan. The two Getty grants were used to address earlier piecemeal renovations and produce an overall conservation strategy for the site. The conservation plan resulted in exemplary documentation and emergency structural stabilization work. The grants also enabled the development of a plan for future use given the high visitor volume at the site. Finally, the project involved training for architectural students in the preparation of the working drawings and a risk management workshop for the historic site managers and staff of the City Palace Complex. In February 2017, Living Heritage of Mewar was published, forming the culmination of Foundation grants that supported conservation planning for the City Palace Complex.
Grants awarded: $75,000 (2005) and $75,000 (2008)


Nagaur Fort
 
Nagaur Fort, Jodhpur, India
The Nagaur-Ahhichatragarh fort in Rajasthan, near Jodhpur is one of the finest examples of Rajput-Mughal architecture. Dating primarily from the 16th—18th centuries, this large fortified complex of palaces, elaborate gardens, temples and a mosque had fallen into ruin. With the help of a series of Getty grants, the Mehrangarh Trust oversaw the multi-year conservation of the fort, using both traditional building methods and modern scientific techniques. Most recently Getty funds enabled students and faculty from the Courtauld Institute to participate in the conservation of the wall paintings at the fort, a project that concluded in March 2012. This project focused on wall paintings in the Sheesh Mahal, or Palace of Mirrors, which are among the most important examples of the fine, elongated figural style characteristic of Nagaur. In 2002 the Getty-supported conservation work was recognized with a UNESCO Award for Excellence in Cultural Heritage Conservation, and in 2013 the project was a finalist for the Aga Khan Award for Architecture.
Grants awarded: $50,000 (1992), $250,000 (1997), $250,000 (2003), and $200,000 (2007)


St. Catherine’s Monastery
 
St. Catherine's Monastery, Mt. Sinai, Egypt
Located at the foot of Mount Sinai at the site where tradition holds the Ten Commandments were given to Moses, the 6th-century Monastery of St. Catherine's is still an active monastic center and a rare surviving example of an early Byzantine basilica. A World Heritage site, St. Catherine's is also renowned for its outstanding collection of early Christian icons and manuscripts. Getty funding enabled an international team of conservators, technicians, and apprentices to conserve the mosaics located in the magnificent central apse of the monastery's church and the Chapel of the Burning Bush. The conservation of the mosaics grew out of a conservation assessment of the mosaics by the Getty Conservation Institute, and an earlier grant-funded project that had developed conservation recommendations for the entire site. These projects provided an opportunity for the Getty programs to work together, culminating in the acclaimed Getty Museum exhibition of icons and manuscripts from the monastery, Holy Image, Hallowed Ground: Icons from Sinai.
Grants awarded: $70,000 (1999), $250,000 (2006)


Detail of Santa Maria Maggiore mosaics
 
Santa Maria Maggiore, Rome, Italy
A World Heritage Site, Santa Maria Maggiore has been one of Christianity's most important religious landmarks since its founding by Pope Sixtus III in the 5th century. Both the 5th and 13th century mosaics are among the most beautiful works in the history of art. Threatened by water infiltration as well as the results of earlier restorations, the mosaics were in severe need of conservation. Foundation grants supported analysis by a team of conservators, scientists, and art historians; laboratory analysis and onsite testing; photographic documentation; and the development and implementation of the conservation plan. The team's work provided a model for the conservation field, which was useful to the Getty Conservation Institute's mosaic project in Prague.
Grants awarded: $186,500 (1995), $250,000 (1997)


Detail of Paul Bril fresco, Scala Santa
 
Scala Santa, Rome, Italy
From 2000-2009, a series of three Getty grants supported the conservation of the late 16th century Scala Santa, a Vatican extra-territorial property in the Lateran complex in Rome that houses the ancient marble staircase by tradition held to be the steps Christ ascended to receive his judgment by Pontius Pilate. The first two Getty grants were directed towards the conservation of a fresco cycle within the building by Flemish artist Paul Bril in the San Silvestro Chapel. Not only did the treatment reveal the original paintings in astonishing brilliance, the project greatly enhanced existing knowledge of Bril's work and produced a model conservation documentation method. A final grant supported the publication of these results. Using the Getty grants as leverage, the Patrons of the Arts for the Vatican Museums secured in 2013 the $3 million needed to complete the full conservation of the remaining Scala Santa complex. This will allow for the continued study and use of the site by the more than 2 million people who visit it each year.
Grants awarded: $170,000 (2000), $295,000 (2004), $49,000 (2006)


Shackleton’s Hut
 
Shackleton's Hut, Cape Royds, Ross Island, Antarctica
For nearly a century, Sir Ernest Shackleton's hut at Cape Royds in Antarctica has endured one of the harshest climates in the world. Assembled in 1908 during the legendary Nimrod Expedition, it is one of the few wooden buildings remaining intact on the continent and an icon of the heroic age of Antarctic exploration. The building was designed to withstand extreme weather conditions as the team's base and laboratory only for the duration of Shackleton's expedition. However, the building, with thousands of the expedition's artifacts remaining, still stands and was in urgent need of conservation. Since 1987, during the short polar summers, preservation specialists have worked to develop a comprehensive conservation plan to save the building. The Getty awarded an implementation grant to the New Zealand-based Antarctic Heritage Trust in 2004 for the conservation of the hut and its contents, as well as educational programs at Gateway Antarctica, a research facility at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand.
Grant awarded: NZD 384,600 (2004)


Tempel Synagogue
 
Tempel Synagogue, Cracow, Poland
The Postepowa (Progressive) Synagogue, commonly known as the Tempel, is the only surviving Reform synagogue, and the only intact 19th-century synagogue, in Poland. Moreover, as a result of the Holocaust, it is one of only two surviving synagogues in Cracow. Prior to 1939, Cracow was of central importance to one of the largest Jewish communities in Eastern Europe. The Tempel was built in 1860-62 in an eclectic style, incorporating elements of Romanesque and Gothic Revival styles, as well as Neo-classical and Neo-Renaissance styles. Remarkable for its very survival, the Tempel had already begun playing a pivotal role in the revival and restoration of what was formerly the Jewish neighborhood of Cracow. Getty support in 1992 provided project identification assistance, to document the building and undertake an initial conservation assessment led by the World Monuments Fund. WMF completed the assessment and then finished the conservation and stabilization of the foundation and exterior envelope of the building, followed by full conservation of the historic interior supported by a second Getty grant.
Grants awarded: $20,000 (1992), $150,000 (1997)


Cosmatic Pavement, Westminster Abbey
 
Westminster Abbey, England
King Henry III began construction on Westminster Abbey in the 13th century, at which time the Cosmati pavement in front of the high altar in the church Sacrarium was also introduced. Named after a Roman family of skilled architects, craftsmen and mosaic workers, the Cosmati technique was fashionable in the 12th and 13th centuries and featured small shapes of colored stones and glass inserted into a stone base in intricate, geometric patterns. The flooring is of outstanding artistic and historic significance as one of the last few extant and in situ examples of cosmati work in England, and has served as the site upon which royal coronation takes place since its completion. Unfortunately, due to its age and delicate condition, the pavement had rarely been visible and was seriously deteriorated. A Foundation grant supported the stabilization and cleaning of the floor, so that the protective covering could be removed more frequently, allowing more visitors to view the mosaic work. Getty funds also supported conservation internship opportunities for students and informational lectures for the public.
Grant awarded: £128,400 (2007)

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Top: Nagaur interior courtyard with fountain. Photography by Neil Greentree