In the Loop
Alumni News : Oct 29, 2015

Museum studies alumna works to conserve library mural

Kelly O’Neill (BAHA Art History ‘03, MA Museum Studies ‘08), was back on campus this week to clean and conserve the Hollis Holbrook mural in the Smathers Library East Grand Reading Room. Painted by UF faculty member Hollis Holbrook in 1953, the large mural is in critical need of conservation. It was created when smoking was allowed in the Grand Reading Room and windows were often left open.

O’Neill is currently working with renowned art conservator Rustin Levenson and her team of conservators from ArtCare, Inc. who came Gainesville for this special assignment. The team of experts will be removing several decades’ worth of dirt and dust from the mural.

For two years after graduation, O’Neill gained experience in conservation work in Miami with Levenson before returning to the UF to study conservation. In 2012, she graduated from Queen’s University with a graduate degree in painting conservation, which is one of only four universities in North America offering the specialty degree.

To learn more about the mural, visit