Restoring Ideals

Funded by The Barra Foundation, Restoring Ideals began as a question raised by Temple Contemporary’s Advisory Council that addressed Philadelphia’s evolving relationship to its founding ideals of tolerance, equality, and independence. Inspired by this question, Temple Contemporary and a consortium of partners including the Conservation Center of Art and Historic Artifacts and WHYY, responded by designing the Restoring Ideals project. It was our hope to open a dialog that refers to the honorable declarations of the past, as well as connecting these ideals to the needs of Philadelphia’s living communities and the organizations that serve them.

Our goal was to honor the organizations that you feel uphold the city’s ideals. Once these organizations were voted on by the public, the top ten organizations that received the most votes through an online poll chose an object from their archives emblematic of these historic ideals and reflective of their mission but was in desperate need of restoration. Professional conservators conserved these objects at Temple Contemporary from September 2013– February 2014. It was through this public process that Restoring Ideals reframed conservation as a living part of valuing our contemporary accomplishments and preserving this diversity now for the benefit of the future.

List of the top ten organizations who had objects conserved:

Awbury Arboretum

Since 1916, Awbury Arboretum's goal has been to connect nature and history to the entire Philadelphia community. Not only does Awbury have the best dog walking trails in Northwest Philadelphia, they also host Weaver's Way farm, an amazing summer camp and a variety of children's education programs studying birds, insects, pond life, and much, much more. Awbury Arboretum is open every day of the year!

Asian American United

Asian Americans United (AAU) is a social justice organization invested in building a positive community for all Asian Americans living in Philadelphia. For over 25 years, AAU has strongly invested in youth leadership, giving them the skills and confidence to make a difference in building up their neighborhoods and uniting against oppression. AAU believes in access to quality education, teaching people about their rights as immigrants, and helping to foster a strong sense of cultural pride throughout Philadelphia.

The Attic Youth Center

Until 1993, many of Philadelphia’s LGBTQ youth navigated the world on their own. Without support systems that understood them, without a space in which they could freely express themselves, isolation was routine. When The Attic Youth Center was born, it invited LGBTQ youth to join together for the first time to celebrate themselves in a space where they didn’t have to be alone. Since then, The Attic has grown to become a beloved Philadelphia fixture that provides innovative and engaging programs and support services for LGBTQ youth, and advocates for a world characterized by understanding, affirmation, and respect. Where LGBTQ youth not only don’t have to be alone, but where they know it is OK2BU.

Morris Animal Refuge

When Elizabeth Morris first opened the doors of the Morris Animal Shelter in 1874 it was the first shelter of its kind anywhere in the country to promote the rights and welfare of homeless animals. The doors have stayed open ever since and today Morris provides a full range of preventative, protective, and adoption services for thousands of animals every year. Morris takes all animals, big and small, treating each one with the care and respect all animals deserve.

Philadelphia Folklore Project

The Philadelphia Folklore Project (PFP) keeps folk traditions alive. For over 26 years PFP has offered vibrant public programs, exhibits and concerts, alongside workshops that help people preserve, document and sustain folk and traditional arts within our region. PFP is committed to protecting traditions and connecting them to communities throughout Philadelphia.

Public Citizens for Children and Youth

For over 32 years Public Citizens for Children and Youth's (PCCY) goal has been to improve the lives of children through thoughtful and informed advocacy. PCCY improves the health care of Philadelphia children by maximizing access and availability of resources to health insurance, dental, vision and behavioral care. PCCY campaigns tirelessly to increase the learning opportunities of all children by strengthening pre-kindergarten programs and improving the adequacy and equity of Philadelphia public education.

Public School Notebook

The Public School Notebook is an independent news source serving thousands of advocates committed to improving the quality and equality of Philadelphia public schools. For over 19 years The Public School Notebook has been a voice for parents, students, teachers, and community members with its website, blog and free newspaper. Through these efforts, The Public School Notebook distributes vital information promoting educational reform throughout Philadelphia's public school system.

SHARE Food Program

SHARE believes that everyone deserves affordable and nutritious food. Sadly, many parts of Philadelphia are still not hunger free. For over 25 years, SHARE has been working to increase Philadelphia's access to a stable and nutritious diet by providing healthy food to 550 food cupboards and 250 host organizations every month. SHARE's large community garden, Nice Roots Farm, also provides locally-grown fresh produce to their immediate neighbors in North Philadelphia.

Spiral Q Puppet Theater

Spiral Q lives at the intersection of art and social justice. Since its founding in 1996, Spiral Q has been committed to building strong and equitable communities through creativity. Their creative programs and workshops on youth training, development, and leadership are alive in schools, parks, and libraries throughout Philadelphia. Spiral Q is nationally recognized for their originality and ability to inspire Philadelphia communities of all ages and backgrounds through live theater and puppetry.

West Kensington Ministry

Along with the teachings of Jesus Christ, West Kensington Ministry engage the community by offering programs and events that help in changing habits and behaviors. Residing in the 4th hungriest neighborhood in the United States, West Kensington Ministry was moved to offer a weekly Sunday meal for families to come together, turn off their cell phones, and simply share a healthy meal. After the meal, they offer learning workshops, from money management to simple cooking classes. Throughout such programs West Kensington Ministry's consistent goal is to remain an active and relevant entity for people in Norris Square community by supporting individuals and families on an on-going basis.


To view the conservation process taking place in the gallery, here are some scheduled dates and the specific objects that will be conserved:

October 3, 11:00-5:00:  Bible/West Kensington Ministry (Book Conservator)
October 4, 11:00-5:00: Bible/West Kensington Ministry (Book Conservator)
October 9, 11:00-5:00:  Bible/West Kensington Ministry (Book Conservator)
October 10, 11:00-5:00: Bible/West Kensington Ministry (Book Conservator)
October 11, 11:00-5:00: Bible/West Kensington Ministry (Book Conservator)
October 16, 11:00-3:00: Sorting table/The Share Food Program (Object conservator)
October 17, 11:00-5:00: Bible/West Kensington Ministry (Book Conservator)
October 18, 11:00-5:00: Bible/West Kensington Ministry (Book Conservator)
October 24, 11:00-5:00: Founding Charter/Morris Animal Refuge (Paper conservator)
October 25, 11:00-2:30: Founding Charter/Morris Animal Refuge (Paper conservator)
October 31, 11:00-5:00: Sorting Table or Puppet: SHARE/Spiral Q (Object conservator)
November 6, 11:00-5:00: Flag/The Attic Youth Center (Textile conservator)
November 7, 11:00-5:00: Bird migration document/Awbury Arboretum (Paper conservator)
November 8, 11:00-2:30: Bird migration document/Awbury Arboretum (Paper conservator)
November 13, 11:00-5:00: Flag/The Attic Youth Center (Textile conservator)
November 14, 11:00-5:00: Bird migration document/Awbury Arboretum (Paper conservator)
November 15, 11:00-2:30: Bird migration document/Awbury Arboretum (Paper conservator)
November 21, 11:00-5:00: Newspaper/Asian Americans United (Paper conservator)
November 22, 11:00-2:30: Newspaper/Asian Americans United (Paper conservator)
November 27, 11:00-5:00: Spiral Q (Object conservator)
December 4, 11:00-5:00: Spiral Q (Object conservator)
December 5, 11:00-5:00: Original copies of The Notebook/Public School Notebook  (Paper conservator)
December 6, 11:00-2:30: Original copies of The Notebook/Public School Notebook  (Paper conservator)
December 18, 11:00-5:00pm: SEPTA trans pass/Public Citizens for Children and Youth (Paper conservator)