We care deeply about preserving authentic history. That's why we are dedicated to opening up the world of conservation and offering our services to projects that are close to our hearts. We call these Angel Projects, inspired by the ‘Mud Angels’ of Florence who banded together during the 1966 flood to save masterpieces from the mud and restore them to their original beauty.
Every year, we take on Angel Projects where we volunteer our conservation services usually in partnership with a host institution or repository. These projects are our way of helping to protect important and significant moments of history for future generations to enjoy and learn from in years to come.
San Francisco’s historic Cliff House and the Sutro Baths below are part of the fabric of the city. Since 1863, the building has drawn in locals and travellers alike who come to enjoy the Pacific views. Over the decades, Cliff House has amassed a varied and unique collection of art, from its famous pair of porcelain muses to its Sheriff C.U. Soon, aka The Cowboy, which was originally from Fun Tier Town at Playland at the Beach.
In 2020, Cliff House closed its doors for the last time and its entire collection was destined to go to auction. As a vital part of San Francisco’s heritage, we knew we had to intervene to save the Cliff House collection and keep it on display for locals and visitors alike. In collaboration with the The Great Highway gallery, Western Neighborhoods Project, Minnesota Street Project and with cooperation of Rabin Worldwide at the blessing of the Hountalas family, we began our first Angel Project: Save The Cliff House Collection.
We built a community movement where 441 individual donors came together to raise money and save over 58 pieces from auction.
We provided art handling, transport and storage of the artefacts and are in the process of conserving many of them.
Today, artwork from the Cliff House Collection is proudly displayed for the general public to see, enjoy and learn more about San Francisco's rich heritage. The collection can be viewed at The Museum at The Cliff which is open Thursdays through Sundays, 11-4pm, in the former Cliff House Gift Shop.
NAIAD COVE, a special immersive exhibition in the former main restaurant of the Cliff House, is currently open Saturdays & Sundays 11am-5pm. Please reserve tickets at outside lands.org
On the night of November 4, 1966, the Arno river in Florence, Italy, overflowed its banks, reaching over 10 feet above street level and filling many of Florence’s historic streets, museums, churches, and libraries with mud and water.
Citizens and foreigners living in Florence took to the streets, museums, and libraries to salvage masterpieces and manuscripts from the devastation, for which they earned the title “Gli Angeli di Fango”, translated as “Mud Angels”. They preserved their pieces of history without hesitation.
These everyday citizens “rolled up their sleeves in a show of stubborn resilience, and got to work salvaging books, parchments and scrolls from the basement of the Uffizi Gallery, and later from the National Library. -New York Times
Alexandra Mitchell, trained in Florence by the original “mud angels,” honors their legacy by making sure these values are inherent in the studio’s focus, by committing her deep knowledge and training towards Angel Projects as a cornerstone of her practice.