1. The project started with labeling and removing the plexiglass panels surrounding the diorama. They were carefully stored in a custom-built rack while we worked on the cleaning and restoration.
2. After setting up lights and equipment, we removed any items that weren’t permanently affixed to the diorama, such as the hot air balloons, several of the airplanes, and the Pacific Electric cars.
3. Then we began to dry clean the surfaces. This involved brushing the fifty years of accumulated dust directly into a vacuum cleaner. We used ladie’s hose to keep loose parts from being sucked into the vacuum. An over-creeper was used to reach the center of the diorama.
4. The dry cleaning was followed by a damp cleaning. We tried several methods of removing the dirt, but found that a damp brush worked best. The brush was dipped into distilleld water, and used to wipe a small section of the diorama. After each wipe, the brush would be wiped onto a paper towel to remove the dirt.
5. Small fence posts that had gone missing were replaced. A couple of the race course pylon flags were gone, and the remaining ones were really faded out. Same for the grandstand flags, and even flags on the hot air balloons. New ones were created and installled.
6. The hot air balloons were cleaned and the flags replaced.
7. The Pacific Electric cars were cleaned and fixed.
8. All of the aircraft were really dirty. After cleaning a light coat of paint was applied to brighten them up. Some were affixed to the diorama and had to be worked on in place.
9. Many of the buildings required restoration, in particular, those that were made from paper.
10. Some of the scenery had damaged paint. We touched up here and there, as needed.
11. With the cleaning and restoration complete, the plexiglass panels were cleaned and reinstalled.
12. We were pleased and amazed at how vivid the diorama looked after we finished. Here are some images of the finished project.
13. Pictured below are the crew who worked on this project: Mike Artner, Lloyd Lehrer, Tim Steinmeier and Marv White.