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tumacacori Summary

Located approximately 45 miles south of Tucson, Arizona, the Mission San José de Tumacácori is a Spanish Colonial mission now part of the Tumacácori National Historical Park. Federally designated in 1908, Tumacacori was one of the earliest national sites dedicated to America's colonial Hispano history. The site is equally important for its long history of preservation and especially its surviving decorative painting on the exterior and interior.
With the support of the National Park Service, Penn’s Architectural Conservation Laboratory is currently undertaking conservation of the interior finishes at Mission San José de Tumacácori.
Façade (2014 – 2015)

The Mission San José de Tumacácori represents an exemplary hybrid of Native American, Spanish, Mexican, and Euro-American influences.

An analysis of the original façade was conducted through archival research, comparative studies, in-situ investigation, laboratory analysis, and conditions assessment. This established the foundation for a pilot conservation program to conserve the fragile exterior finishes and develop new interpretive content on the design, construction and evolution of the exterior. The project celebrates 100 years of stewardship during the National Park Service centennial in 2016.

water color
A HABS watercolor rendering of the original polychromy scheme as observed by former Superintendent Frank Pinkley. ca. 1934.

historic image
General view: Mission San Jose de Tumacácori as it stands today within the Tumacácori National Historical Park.
A closeup view of the façade. Much original surface polychromy remains in protected areas, however it is in friable condition.
Interior Plaster (2016 – 2021)

Approximately 600 square feet of original Franciscan-era painted plaster survives in the lower sanctuary and nave of the church.

The current conservation program is divided into four phases: the first phase reviews existing documentation, performs conditions assessments, and conducts materials characterization through laboratory analyses. The second phase will develop a conservation program, which is further divided into two sub-phases, a treatment plan development and pilot treatments implementation. In the third phase, treatment plan will be implemented and monitored. The fourth and final phase will develop interpretative materials.

Original plaster and painted finishes in the Sanctuary of the mission church.
TUMA Funding