A.A. cofounder Bill Wilson and Al-Anon cofounder Lois Wilson lived surrounded by a multitude of treasured gifts from around the world, rare memorabilia, family heirlooms, and antiques from the 1800s and 1900s. The object collection helps tell the Wilsons’ story of family recovery and makes the visitor experience uniquely authentic.
Stepping Stones Foundation has lovingly preserved the 10,000 individual items that were placed directly in our care in 1988 when Lois passed away. Beyond the challenge presented by the sheer number of original items in the collection, the nature of the items requires the involvement of conservation specialists for textile, art, musical instrument, books, furniture and more. The work of these highly-trained consultants is informed by their deep background in a range of areas from chemistry to history.
The support of friends has helped make possible the conservation of objects identified as top priorities among the 10,000 in Stepping Stones’ collection. We prioritize based on factors including the historic importance of an object, age, materials, and condition. Once we select a conservator, they examine the object and its history, document its condition, and develop treatment plan options before taking measures to stabilize and protect the object.
Following are examples of objects Stepping Stones has had treated by experts with the support of friends.
ABOVE: Before and after photographs showing the conservation treatment of the map that Bill Wilson and early A.A. staff in New York used to track the establishment of meetings and groups and the locations of lone members as the fellowship grew across the United States. Bill moved this map from the Manhattan headquarters of A.A. to his writing studio at Stepping Stones. Today, it is protected in a case in Stepping Stones' Welcome Center.
ABOVE: Pictures from before and after conservation treatment of “Painting of New York Bay.” This family heirloom is located in Bill and Lois' upstairs “gallery” in their home at Stepping Stones - a room that Lois said is "like a museum."