Athletic Club Banner


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D.A.A.C. banner Chicago, Illinois, 1920s or 1930s Silk, embroidery, thread, brass 2007.006.001 - Gift of the Danish American Athletic Club


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The Danish-American Athletic Club was founded in Chicago in 1922 to promote Danish cultural heritage through sports, gymnastics and folk dancing.

This banner was donated to the museum in 2007, but it arrived in very fragile condition and was too unstable to display. Shortly after receiving the banner, the museum obtained an estimate for treatment from the Midwest Art Conservation Center in Minneapolis. Thanks to additional support from the D.A.A.C. and from Irma Ørum, the banner began treatment.

The process was detail-oriented and took about five months to complete. The conservator first carefully vacuumed the front and back to remove any debris and dust. Because the front layer of the banner is silk, the burlap lining had abraded the silk leaving it extremely shattered. This lining was removed, along with the silk backing, so that the front of the banner could be stabilized.

Next, the banner was spot treated with deionized water, which helped lighten many of the surface stains. The entire piece was then placed inside a humidification tent with warm deionized water. This process relaxed the heavy creases that had developed from hanging for many years and then being creased as it was later rolled for storage.

The largest areas of shattering in the silk were repaired in a very meticulous manner. A material called Reemay was cut to size for each area and adhered to the existing silk fabric using a specific mixture of chemicals and deionized water. This prevents more shattering from occurring and gives a more solid appearance.

Once the entire conservation process was completed, the conservator attached the banner to a backer board made of aluminum covered with polyester felt and muslin fabric. The banner was stitched to the backing fabric for stability and security, where it will remain.


  • After treatment: the banner is now stable, and can be safely preserved for many years to come.

  • Before treatment: the silk fabric is extremely fragile and has shattered in some areas.

  • Before treatment: the banner had deep creases from being rolled in storage for many years.


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