A Small Home-Based Business
THE OHIO ART CONSERVATION CENTER: The artifact and art conservation company has been in business for over 25 years as an Ohio corporation. The art conservation company is owned wholly by Robert G. Lodge.
The company still has only three employees/officers: Robert Lodge (the owner and President), Gina McKay Lodge, (Senior Paper Conservator) and their son Emmett Lodge (the corporation Secretary/Treasurer).
No persons outside of the family are employed in the home business. The business of the Oberlin area corporation is conservation services through contracting with independent firms and projects management.
The three-employee company functions as a general contractor utilizing personnel from contracted companies throughout the United States as its “staff” to accomplish the work of its services. All services and contracts are managed and overseen by Robert Lodge and performed by the company’s subcontractors.
History of the Business
In 1989, Robert and Gina established the art conservation firm McKay Lodge Fine Arts Conservation Laboratory, Inc. on their 50 acre farm property located 4 miles from downtown Oberlin and commenced practice in a new, purpose built 2,600 square foot building designed for paper and painting conservation.
This was a daring leap and one of considerable scale to make, having no clients at the outset, but they had reasons for their confidence.
They established the practice after leaving their positions of six years each at the Intermuseum Conservation Laboratory of the Intermuseum Conservation Association (ICA), then a regional art conservation center located adjacent to the Allen Memorial Art Museum at Oberlin College. There, they were respectively the acting heads of the paintings and of the paper conservation departments.
The goal of the new company was to duplicate the art conservation services, research and educational programs of a regional conservation center but entirely through funding from earned services revenue – eliminating the dependency on grants and the expenses of the staffing and time to solicit such outside funding. Through hard work, success through respect earned for its high quality and efficient services, and through the high volume of services that its reputation made possible, it has achieved that goal. A significant part of the company’s mission beyond treatment services is self-funded ongoing research by staff, free dissemination of information to the public, education of our clients, training through student internship opportunities and pro bono services where warranted.
The company now works with a total core staff of ten members, of which six are specialty conservators, three conservation assistants and one officer manager. Of the 10 staff members, eight are the employees of Oberlin Conservation Associates, LLC (OCA). In addition, the company is a general contractor, accomplishing many of its larger projects through coordinating subcontracted trades and professionals beyond those of OCA.
During the previous 25 years of providing conservation services, the company has retained its initial focus on paper conservation and paintings conservation for regional museum and institutional fine arts collections. Yet over time, there has come a growing involvement in contract conservation for federal, state and local government collections. With additions of professional staff and substantial expansion of the facilities and equipment, it grew to be especially active and known in the conservation of architectural features, wall paintings and murals, mosaics, sculpture, outdoor sculpture, public art, monuments, metal artifacts and objects, and modern and historic fountains