USS Monitor Center receives IMLS grant

Newport News, VA – The Mariners’ Museum is one of 206 museums in the U.S. and three in Virginia to be awarded an Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) Museums for America collections grant. A highly competitive program, the USS Monitor Center’s proposal was chosen from a pool of 548 applications; the $27,823 grant will be matched with non-federal funds.

“Museums play a vital role in their communities supporting experiences and inquiry for people of all ages, fostering civic engagement, and serving as stewards of collections that represent the nation’s cultural, historical and scientific heritage,” said IMLS Director Dr. Kathryn K. Matthew. Matthew stated that this federal support will help museums all over the country, “enabling their highest level of public service.”

turret-er-system

Conservation of the USS Monitor’s revolving gun turret will be monitored by a new electrolytic reduction (ER) computer monitoring system made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Photo courtesy of The Mariners’ Museum.

This grant will allow the Museum to purchase, install, and operate a new electrolytic reduction (ER) computer monitoring system to support the conservation of the iconic revolving gun turret from the USS Monitor, housed in the USS Monitor Center’s Batten Conservation Complex.

Will Hoffman, senior conservator/conservation project manager said, “The use of ER is a major part of  the turret’s conservation treatment; which involves the use of electrochemistry to breakup corrosion and free trapped chlorides embedded within the object’s surface.  To determine the effectiveness of the process and identify when adjustments need to be made, the artifact is constantly monitored through the use of a computer system. However, the hardware and software of the current system have become obsolete and technological support is no longer available. The new system, funded through the grant, will allow our conservators to get better real-time data and enable more accurate tracking of the treatment process over time. The resulting data can then be shared to expand the body of conservation knowledge that exists within the field, benefiting conservation and museum professionals around the world, as well as visitors to The Mariners’ Museum, and public audiences reached by lectures and web content.”

About IMLS: The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 35,000 museums. Our mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. Our grant making, policy development, and research help libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive.

Submitted by  Jenna Dill, The Mariners’ Museum, September 29, 2016 

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