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OHA conserves portrait of Moses Dewitt Burnet

In 2008 the Greater Hudson Heritage Network, formerly Lower Hudson Conference, granted OHA an award of $7,500 to conserve its portrait of Moses Dewitt Burnet. OHA was the only recipient from Onondaga County to receive this conservation grant.

In addition, OHA received a $2,500 gift from The Century Club to conserve this painting. The portrait of Burnet, attributed to Charles Loring Elliott, c. 1841, was in poor condition and desperately needed conservation treatment.

Susan Blakney and her team at West Lake Conservators, Ltd in Skaneateles conducted the conservation over several weeks in early 2009. The conservators repaired old, jagged tears, re-stretched the canvas on its stretcher frame, removed old spots of painting over the original paint, and cleaned the portrait's surface. What a transformation! Burnet looks like a new man! And he's now on exhibit through July 12 for all to see. So come to the museum during regular museum gallery hours or the third Thursday each month from 5 to 8 p.m. to view the new Moses

For further information contact the OHA at 428-1864.

Moses DeWitt Burnet (1792-1876)

Moses Dewitt Burnet was, unquestionably, one of the leaders in the growth of Syracuse during its early years. He was from Orange County, New York where his father had played a prominent role as an officer under General George Washington's command during the American Revolution. Burnet served in the War of 1812 and later as Orange County sheriff.

In the early 1820s, he took a position with the recently formed Syracuse Company; a partnership of four Albany area men who in 1824 purchased much of the land that now comprises downtown Syracuse. Burnet moved to CNY, primarily to re-sell the land in smaller lots at a profit, but also to help promote necessary community infrastructure, to advance interest in the area and increase the value of his company's holdings. This included construction of commercial buildings, paving streets, erecting the first firehouse and even leading a somewhat successful effort to relocate the county courthouse to Syracuse in the 1830s. Like many others, he also helped the Syracuse Company invest in the local salt industry.

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