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State Historical Society of Iowa

Statue Conservation and Organ Recital July 29-30 at Montauk, Union Sunday School

Jul 14, 2017

CLERMONT – Statue conservation and organ music will take center stage at the Montauk Historic Site and Union Sunday School in and near Clermont July 29-30.

The activities, free and open to the public, kick off Saturday, July 29, when State Historical Society of Iowa Conservator Pete Sixbey puts Montauk's statues into the spotlight for a demonstration about conservation. Visitors can get some hands-on experience in statue conservation by joining Sixbey and are encouraged to ask questions. The demonstration is 1-3 p.m. Saturday, July 29 at the Historic Montauk Site, 26223 Harding Road near Clermont.

Sixbey has been a conservator for more than 30 years with stints at the Nelson-Atkins Museum in Kansas City, the Kansas Museum of History, the Historical Resources and Museum Services for the state of Arkansas, and the Wyoming State Museum before joining the State Historical Museum of Iowa in 1996. Sixbey’s expertise includes conservation of objects, furniture and wood-based artifacts, including frames.

On Sunday, July 30, the spotlight shifts to the Union Sunday School in Clermont for the next performance in the 37th annual Organ Recital Series. This month, the series features Glenn Henriksen of Armstrong, an accomplished, versatile pianist and organist who began piano lessons at age seven. He attended Luther College in Decorah and has played for a wide variety of events, including solo piano and organ concerts, church services, weddings, funerals, receptions and other social activities. His performances can include classical, ragtime, blues and jazz, standards, pop and rock, country, Latin, gospel and sacred.

The recital begins at 2:30 p.m. and will be followed by a free tea at the Clermont Opera House where audience members can meet and visit with Henriken. The recital series is sponsored by the Clermont Historical Society, the State Historical Society of Iowa and the Iowa Arts Council.

The rest of this year's Organ Recital Series schedule follows:

  • Aug. 27: Steve Story of Hawkeye, Iowa
  • Sept. 24: David Lim of Iowa City
  • Oct. 29: Scott Blankenbaker of Charles City

Built in 1874 on a hill overlooking the Turkey River Valley, Montauk was the home of former Iowa Gov. William Larrabee and his wife, Anna. The 14-room mansion is built of brick molded of native clay and kiln at Clermont. Montauk continues to be a working farm with barns, farm animals, and orchard and grain fields, and statues of Civil War heroes.

The Union Sunday School is part of the Montauk Historic Site, and is dominated by a massive Kimball pipe organ that Gov. Larrabee installed in 1896 as a gift to his daughter, Anna, who was an organist there for more than 60 years. It includes 1,554 pipes -- some stand 16-feet tall -- and is the largest remaining unaltered tubular-pneumatic organ in the United States. Encased in a walnut cabinet, the organ was restored in 1979 and rededicated on Oct. 19, 1980, which marked the beginning of the annual recital series. The organ was most recently restored in 2010 by Dobson Pipe OrganBuilders of Lake City, Iowa.

Montauk is one of eight historic sites overseen by the State Historical Society of Iowa, a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs.

The Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs and its three divisions – the Iowa Arts Council, Produce Iowa - State Office of Media Production and the State Historical Society of Iowa – empower Iowa to build and sustain culturally vibrant communities by connecting Iowans to the people, places and points of pride that define our state. The department’s work enables Iowa to be recognized as a state that fosters creativity and serves as a catalyst for innovation where the stories of Iowa are preserved and communicated to connect past, present and future generations.