There is no real future without preserving our history and our culture. ~ Dan Tarnoveanu
Wanda Gag House

Historic Preservation Award

Wanda Gag House
New Ulm, Minnesota

Interior and Exterior Decorated and
Painted Architectural Elements and Surfaces

Built in 1893, the Wanda Gag House is a 2 1/2-story Queen Anne style home.  This house, registered as a national historic site, was the childhood home of Wanda Gag, author and illustrator of "Millions of Cats", a time-honored classic of children's literature.

The original interior decoration, fully uncovered, is unique in the Midwest and is possibly, one of a kind in the U.S.  The vibrant murals - hand painted decorative motifs and architectural finishes - were executed by Anton Gag (Wanda's father), an accomplished artist, decorator, and photographer.  They were created by overlaying several opaque and transparent layers of casein paint on primed plaster.

Restoration consisted of:

  • Cleaning
  • Removal of overpaints as needed
  • Filling the missing areas of plaster
  • Inpainting 
  • Varnishing
The large areas of missing decorative motifs and finishes were replicated.

The project was made possible due to the passion and hard work of Wanda Gag House Association under the direction of Hobart and Charlotte Anderson.  The restoration was executed in stages beginning in 1994 under the guidance of Charles Nelson, former historic preservation architect of Minnesota Historical Society and was completed in March 2006.

This project received a Preservation Historic Award, from the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota, in 2000.

Exterior of the house before restoration

Parlor during conservation

Second floor bedroom after restoration (detail)

Stairway architectural decoration during restoration

Exterior of the house after restoration (front view)

Exterior of the house after restoration (side view)

Stairway after restoration

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