Friends of the Mission Inn Art Conservation Team

by Sue Bartel, Editor for Friends of the Mission Inn

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The Friends of the Mission Inn have commissioned numerous conservators over the years to work on their projects. Our most prolific is Scott M. Haskins,· a renowned art conservator of fine art, expert, consultant, and author. Working professionally since 1975, Haskins specializes in consultations and conservation treatments of paintings and murals; however, his knowledge and abilities include art appraisal and authentication analysis. Owner of Fine Art Conservation Laboratories (FACL, Inc.) in Santa Barbara, California, he and his team do private collection work, as well as traveling the United States and Europe working in museums and institutions.

FACL has conserved all of the artwork and designed the layout in the Spanish Art Gallery at the Mission Inn, Riverside, CA

Haskins has restored many well-known paintings in the collections at The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa from 1984 through 2018. Notable restorations his company, FACL, has done funded by the Friends include: The Espousal of the Virgin, St. Francis and the Flying Cross, The Good Samaritan, Charge Up San Juan Hill, the two McBurney paintings, and the thirty-six California mission paintings by Henry Chapman Ford, highlighted by a PBS Special. The mission paintings are a national treasure to the history of California and greatly influenced the Spanish-style architecture in Riverside. Of course, they are an eminent part of the identity of the Mission Inn. All these significant restorations have been made possible by our committed members and donors, and attendees at our fundraisers. Most of the artwork at the Mission Inn has been financed by Duane Roberts and The Mission Inn which included all of the old masters’ works in the Spanish Art Gallery (over 100) and many others.

Henry Chapman Ford paintings of the Missions of California were saved from destruction

Featured speaker at a docent forum held at the hotel in 2017, Haskins said the main objective concerning the old masters’ paintings was preservation, as opposed to esthetic repairs, since they are displayed at a viewing distance. Also, the decision of the level of restoration of a particular piece and its cost often depends on the assessed recuperation of the original value. He described the many ways artwork is damaged (disasters, accidents, smoke, mold, bugs and misuse) and the variable scientific processes used to restore them.

Recently, it was announced that Haskins has been chosen Head of the Mural Conservation Team (working alongside the original muralist) to lead the team to restore the 1776-1976 Bicentennial Freedom Mural on the Corona/­Riverside Prado Dam. The team plans to restore the 45-year-old mural to its original state after being badly vandalized.

Restoration Projects Update by Skip Forster, Restoration Committee

The Friends of the Mission Inn Board has elected to retain conservator Scott Haskins of Fine Art Conservation Laboratories of Santa Barbara to conduct a review of the artifacts on our current corrective action list and recommend measures to be taken to restore them to good condition.

A partial list includes: restore the Japanese wedding lantern and Phoenix carving in the Ho-O-Kan, resurface the altar in St. Cecilia’s Chapel, treat the wooden columns flanking the Assisi statue in the Atria, and repair the frame on the 1st floor McBurney painting. Scott has a long and beneficial relationship with the Friends, the Inn, and the Roberts family. Foremost among many of Scott’s achievements is the restoration of the Henry Chapman Ford mission paintings, which was featured on a PBS special. With Scott’s help we hope to develop an ongoing plan of preventive maintenance to prevent our valuable artifacts from degradation and ruin.

Alessandra Solomon, FACL Conservation Technician, working at the Mission Inn

Questions about what Fine Art Conservation Laboratories can do for you and your organization? Call 805 564 3438 or write


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About Scott M. Haskins

Scott Haskins has been in professional art conservation since 1975, specializing in the conservation/restoration of easel paintings, murals and art on paper. FACL, Inc. is known nationally for doing A+ work no matter the size or difficulty of the project. We are happy to do a quick cleaning on a family heirloom. Our client list and resume is also full of very satisfied clients of large, difficult/complicated projects at remote locations. Excellent services are also available as an Expert Witness/Legal Testimony in art related matters. Consultation on art related projects occur regularly including extensive insurance evaluations for insured or insurer. Services are offered worldwide. Scott M. Haskins is also author of the "Save Your Stuff" series, educational information, materials and supplies to help people protect and save their treasured family heirlooms and collectibles at home and office. He can be reached at 805 564 3438. Video and written testimonials at
This entry was posted in Consultations, FACL in the media, Historic Buildings - Construction Sites, Historic Preservation, In Lab, Painting on canvas, Professional activities, Saving Public Art, Speaking Engagements and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

22 Responses to Friends of the Mission Inn Art Conservation Team

  1. Christopher says:

    Your work is just as special as the art itself. You resurface things we can barely see. You recover art that seems beyond salvaging. You make art so much better and for that we thank you!

    • There is a social conscience, Christopher, and I feel good knowing that Art, history, and storytelling are preserved through our work for future generations. We don’t try to make art better. Our objective is to preserve the original art for the future.

  2. Clara P. says:

    It’s touching knowing that hundreds or even a thousand years later there are still people that carefully care for art belonging to artists they didn’t even know.

  3. Ramona says:

    I can’t stop myself from wondering what is behind every piece of art I see, be it in a museum or in a private collection. I find this sometimes even more captivating than the art itself. And the same goes for art that is damaged like the paintings of Spanish missions of CA that were restored. Natural disaster aside, how can someone willingly allow for a piece of history to go through extensive damage?

  4. Benjamin M. says:

    This is the first time I’m hearing about the restoration of the Prado Dam. I knew the locals initiated a campaign to save it but unfortunately, things rarely go as planned and I thought they scraped it all together by now.

  5. Joseph says:

    Current technological progress allows me to research almost every subject I have interest in with the click/tap of a button. Art restoration is my passion but not from a restaurateur’s point of view but rather from an art lover’s perspective. Seeing old art being brought to life with today’s technology is the true definition of progress.

  6. Benjamin says:

    This is the first time I’m hearing about the restoration of the Prado Dam. I knew the locals initiated a campaign to save it but unfortunately, things rarely go as planned and I thought they scraped it all together by now.

  7. Christine M. says:

    I can’t wait to start my own art collection, it’s something I’ve wanted to do ever since my art history teacher got me hooked. Some people buy property or expensive cars, I want to have a collection with new and emerging artists #ToEachHisOwn

    • LOL, great idea Christine. Happy trails as you will find your gallery hopping and estate sale cruising will have a new and completely new energy. I am sure you will have fun and be successful.

  8. Alberta says:

    I just had to google Mission Inn, I think I found our next travel destination. I prefer hotels that have a rich, colorful history and this one clearly checks this box. The museum is a nice touch, can’t wait to visit it in the spring. Since they rotate the exhibitions, is there a way to access what art will be on show that specific day?

    • Thanks for your enthusiasm Alberta. Call ahead at the museum to hear what they can do for you. The museum personnel is the same group of people that conduct the tours around the Historic Mission Inn. Its worth the visit!

  9. Aurora says:

    I can’t wait to see the mural restored! It broke my heart when I read that its current state made it too degraded for historic listing. Painted by 20 girls and 10 boys from Corona High School, this dam means so much for so many. It’s a historic landmark that deserves being restored to its original glory.

  10. Martina Joseph says:

    Mission Inn is a jewel! I had a business meeting there mid November, it’s a rather unique and classic gem, a choice I will always make over glitzy, eye sore modern locations. More so that they’re willing to pay to conserve their displayed art instead of letting it slowly wither as time passes by.

  11. Annie says:

    I know they have tens of years of experience, studying and working on thousands of pieces of art but it still puzzles me how someone can restore a painting that went through years of damage. The color match, the paint strokes, it’s a very tedious and challenging task to be quite spot on.

    • Hi Annie… the accurate touch up (called “inpainting”) repair the visual problems but the “preservation” or stopping the deterioration is always a primary concern. A lot of times, that is a process that is not visible to the eye but has a more scientific “edge” to it.

  12. David says:

    I had no idea! I just checked the video now and it honestly feels like a movie script, with the whole bankruptcy, Mr Haskins offering to finish the project for a way lower fee than what they have established, that’s life for you… I love seeing passionate people doing what they do best, it always shows in their work!

    • Hey David, the producer of the PBS show contacted us a couple of years after it first showed and they told us that this PBS special was THE most popular show they received requests for. Nice! Thanks for your support.

  13. Angela says:

    Scott M. Haskins is truly one of a kind! I’ve been following his ‘Save my Stuff” blog for a while now. I just wished he posted more, there’s not just content regarding art and art restoration, he also touches on literature, history, the whole package.

    • Thanks Angela for your comment and interest in Save Your Stuff. I’ve been trying to get help to stay on top of the 2 dozen social media outlets we have but my staff is resistant. Call me if you have a question: 805 570 4140 is my mobile

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