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tumacacori Summary

Located approximately one hour south of Tucson, Arizona, the Mission San Jose de Tumacácori is a Spanish Colonial mission now part of the Tumacácori National Historical Park. Acquired by the National Park Service in 1916, successive campaigns of repair have stabilized but also obscured much of the original surfaces  of its once colorfully painted church façade. 

With the support of the National Park Service, Penn’s Architectural Conservation Laboratory is currently undertaking an analysis of the original façade  through archival research, comparative studies, in-situ investigation, laboratory analysis, and conditions assessment. This will form 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 will also help celebrate 100 years of stewardship during the National Park Service  centennial in 2016 by examining the conservation history of Tumacácori as an illustration of past and present preservation methodologies and site management.
Right: A HABS watercolor rendering of the original polychromy scheme as observed by former Superintendent Frank Pinkley. ca. 1934.
Below: A closeup view of the façade. Much original surface finish remains in protected elements, however it is in fragile, friable condition.

historic image
General view: Mission San Jose de Tumacácori as it stands today within the Tumacácori National Historical Park
The façade of the Mission San Jose de Tumacácori represents an exemplary case in which architecture, preservation, and conservation technology come together to reveal the complex history of the church and its present condition. That history represents the confluence of Native American, Spanish, Mexican, and Euro-American culture, religion, settlement, and politics.
water color
TUMA Funding