From its purchase price, to what it cost to ship it here from Japan, the curtain at Stephens Auditorium at Iowa State University has always been a big, big deal.
And now, it`s a big, big project. A team of textile conservationists is restoring the 44-year-old curtain inch by inch.
The team is using water, rags and a special vacuum. Workers have to stop frequently for performances, so the process is expected to take about eight months in all.
During the process, researchers will try to uncover the meaning of the design on the curtain, which has never been known. This is the first time the curtain, nicknamed “Silver Code” has ever been cleaned.
“Just years and years of use, I mean if you think about it, how does your house get dirty? It just accumulates over time,” says textile conservationist Kate Greder.
Researcher Claire Kruesel says, “The curtain, Silver Code, really makes C.Y Stephens more than a space, it makes it a place.”
Iowa State donor, Bill Fisher, paid a Japanese artist $20,000 to make Silver Code back in 1968. It cost $50,000 to ship it to the U.S.
It will cost more than three times the purchase price to clean it and restore its mechanical parts.