Tanner Hearse Collection Conservation - Cumberland Heritage Village Museum
Since 1986, the Cumberland Heritage Village Museum has been home to the Tanner Hearse Collection. This turn of the 20th century collection of unique undertaker equipment is comprised of a Sleigh Hearse (c. 1900), Funeral Carriage/Coach (c. 1890), and a Pallbearers Wagon (c. 1900). The Sleigh Hearse was fabricated by local craftsman, James Stewart, and remained in use until 1936. This unit maintains a front driver’s seat and rear cabin, supported by a wood and iron frame, set upon sleigh runners. The rear cabin is adorned by glass/Plexiglas panels, and capped with decorative wood finials and silver-plated brass rails. Majority of the original interior padded ceiling and felt curtains remain, as do the decorative silver-plated brass rails/fixings. Prior to purchase by the Cumberland Heritage Village Museum, the Tanner family completed a restoration project to stabilize the hearse.
CSI was contracted to carry out the conservation work on the Sleigh Hearse, which included confirmation of conditions and implementing conservation treatment. Treatment involved removing corrosion from metal components, stabilizing dry rot on the seat and sleigh runners, stabilization of cracked glass, repairing leather components on the seat, and reattaching the side seat panel. The interior curtains were removed for storage to facilitate future reproduction. Upon completion, CSI provided a full treatment report to the client.