This piece was originally published in our April-June 2023 edition of SF Heritage News. To view the full issue, click here.
By Pamela Larson, Museum & Tour Manager
Thanks to the generosity of the grant-funding committee and members of the Victorian Alliance, the Haas-Lilienthal House’s Aeolian Duo-Art Reproducing Baby-Grand Piano and the piano bench were beautifully restored to their former luster. The piano has long been prominently displayed in the Haas-Lilienthal House and is an important piece in the museum’s collection. After many years of service, the instrument and its accompanying seating required some attention. The restoration work was done by experienced furniture conservationist Katie McCabe. Katie has been a furniture- restorer for decades and has been involved in many restoration and conservation projects at the Haas-Lilienthal House.
The restoration work took place between February 23 and March 2. The work included cleaning the piano, color-matching the stain, and color-blending where needed to maintain the wood’s original tint. The brass plate inside the piano was polished, and the mahogany veneer was lightly refinished. Finally, the entire piano was waxed using high-quality European wax. Restoring the piano bench included hand-stripping the top and repairing the missing veneer. The color applied to the top was matched to the base. Once the pieces were reassembled, French polish and wax were used to finish them. Now the beauty of the piano and bench can be enjoyed for generations to come. To show our appreciation, San Francisco Heritage is planning a special visit for Victorian Alliance members to the Haas-Lilienthal House to see the impact of their financial support.