Parts of Worcester's rich history are being taken out of City Hall for preservation.

Art preservation experts were in City Hall Monday to remove eight portraits of former Worcester mayors and other city officials. The work on the old oil paintings and photographs is part of the City Manager's program to restore and preserve historical pieces of public art in Worcester.

In addition to the work on the city hall portraits, monuments on the Worcester Common were preserved as part of the ongoing program. Twelve historical portraits, some well over 100 years old, are slated for repair. Monday, eight portraits of past mayors and others were taken down and packaged up for the trip to Studio T-K-M Associates in Somerville, MA for the repair process.

"For the most part we allow works of art to age as they will naturally with time and exposure, but what we want to mitigate are the damages that sort of were inadvertent or unintentional," Deborah LaCamera of Studio TKM Associates said.

"The city manager is very keen on preserving the historical value that we have in the paintings and the monuments," Tim Boucher, the physical plant director for Worcester Department of Public Works & Parks Inventory, said. "Inventory of the things that we have that are valuable to the City of Worcester. There's a lot of history here."

The portraits were rated for severity of damage on a sliding scale. The ones deemed to be in the worst condition are being taken out of City Hall for preservation first. The first phase of the City Hall portrait project is expected to last eight months.