Category Archives: conservation

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 

Member Update – ASME Names USS Monitor’s Worthington Pumps an Engineering Landmark

Newport News, VA – The USS Monitor’s Worthington Direct-Acting Simplex Pumps were designated a Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) in a August 26, 2016, ceremony at The Mariners’ Museum.

#Port Worthington pump during Conservation

Port Worthington pump during conservation. Photo courtesy of The Mariners’ Museum

“Landmark status for the Worthington simplex pumps recognizes the contribution of the steam pumps to industrial history and to the progress of mechanical engineering,” said K. Keith Roe, current president of ASME.  “The Worthington steam pumps join a roster of more than 250 other ASME engineering landmarks throughout the world.  Each represents a progressive step in the evolution of our profession, while exemplifying the innovation and vision embodied in engineers everywhere.”

Howard H. Hoege III, interim president and CEO of The Mariners’ Museum, said, “We are  distinctly honored to be awarded the ASME Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark designation for the USS Monitor’s Worthington Pumps. This award is a symbol of the Museum’s role in preserving and presenting unique marine engineering inventions such as the Worthington Pumps, allowing us to inspire future generations to create new designs, technologies, and machines which will shape our world’s future.”

The simplex pumps from the iconic ironclad Monitor were designed by 19th-century engineering pioneer Henry R. Worthington, one of ASME’s co-founders. Worthington, a longtime associate of the Monitor’s designer John Ericsson, sold the pumps, built at Worthington & Baker Works in Greenpoint, New York, on January 10, 1862, for $582.22. They were installed on the Monitor to handle water for boiler, bilge, and fire-fighting needs.

Dr. Reginald I. Vachon, past president of ASME, said, “The Worthington steam pumps stood apart for their efficiency and reliability. Their compact size and lightweight design were vital features in marine applications, and the pumps also served as the basis for a variety of other industrial applications.”

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Photo courtesy of The Mariners’ Museum

Vachon presented a bronze plaque to John V. Quarstein, director of the Monitor Center, and Dr. Paul Ticco, regional coordinator of the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, at the August 25 ceremony. Guests were given behind-the-scenes laboratory tours led by Monitor Center conservators.

Recovered from the Monitor’s wreck site off Cape Hatteras, NC, in 2001 by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and U.S. Navy divers, the pumps are believed to be the oldest surviving examples of Worthington’s simplex design. Undergoing conservation at the USS Monitor Center’s Batten Conservation Complex at The Mariners’ Museum and Park, the pumps will go on display at the Museum when conservation is complete.

The Monitor Center has crafted the only fully operational replica of one of the ship’s pumps. Will Hoffman, senior conservator/conservation project manager at the Monitor Center, gave a presentation about the making of the replica and a demonstration. Supporters of the Replica Project were recognized including Curtiss-Wright, Master Machine and Tool, and Hampton Rubber Company. Plans are to take the replica on a road tour that follows the Monitor Historic Trail from New York to North Carolina. When not on the road, the replica will be used for “STEAM” educational programming at the Museum.

The August 25 designation ceremony was sponsored by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers-Eastern Virginia Section and Curtiss-Wright.

Submitted by Jenna Dill, Marketing & Communications Manager, The Mariners’ Museum, August 25, 2016

News from AIC Collection Care Network

First, there is a full program in Montreal that is of particular interest to our collection care partners during the joint annual meeting of both the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (AIC) and the Canadian Association for Conservation (Association Canadienne pour la Conservation et la Restauration) (CAC-ACCR). The meeting is planned for May 13 – 17, 2016. To see the slate of offerings, please visit: http://www.conservation-us.org/annual-meeting/allied-professionals-track

Second, the Journal of American Institute for Conservation (JAIC) is seeking submissions for a “Collection Care” special issue. Papers are welcome across the full spectrum of collection care activities, from communication and advocacy to technical specifications. This Journal volume seeks to represent the diverse acts of preventive conservation and the work of all of those who facilitate preservation and access. The responsibility for collection care is not limited to conservators but rather is a collaborative process among allied professionals such as facility managers, curators, registrars, preparators, collection managers, security staff, archivists, exhibit designers, architects, and maintenance staff (among others), who work together to mitigate or manage collection risks. Authors are invited to submit an abstract and article outline for consideration by the special issue editors with final article submissions due April 1, 2016. Please send inquiries and submissions to Mary Coughlin at coughlin@gwu.edu.

Submitted by Gretchen Guidess, AIC Collection Care Network

CALL FOR PAPERS: JAIC Special Issue: Collection Care

The Journal of American Institute of Conservation (JAIC) is seeking submissions for a “Collection Care” special issue.  Collection care can be described as avoiding needless damage to collections or the systematic mitigation of risks to all strategically managed physical and intellectual values of a collection.

Papers are welcome across the full spectrum of collection care activities, from communication and advocacy to technical specifications. This edition seeks to represent the diverse acts of preventive conservation and the work of all of those with a stake in facilitating preservation and access.  The responsibility for collection care is not limited to conservators but rather is a collaborative process among allied professionals such as facility managers, curators, registrars, preparators, collection managers, security staff, archivists, exhibit designers, architects, and maintenance staff, among others, who work together to mitigate or manage collection risks.  We would like this issue to consider processes that reflect this range of stakeholders, so welcome research or case study papers on topics as broad as documentation and material choices to the management of staff and the environment.

Authors are invited to submit an abstract and article outline for consideration by the special issue editors with final article submissions due April 1, 2016.

Please send inquiries and submissions to Mary Coughlin at coughlin@gwu.edu

Submitted by Gretchen Guidess, AIC Collection Care Network

AIC & CAC-ACCR 2016 Joint Annual Meeting & Conference: Call for Papers

The theme for the American Institute for Conservation’s 44th Annual Meeting, held jointly with the 42nd Annual Canadian Association for Conservation (CAC-ACCR) Conference, in Montreal, Canada, May 13-17, 2016, will be “Emergency! Preparing for Disasters and Confronting the Unexpected in Conservation.”

Colleagues are invited to submit abstracts that address in a broad-based way the impact of past, present, and future disasters on the protection of cultural property. In addition, papers that address confronting the unexpected in conservation whether it occurs during the treatment of an artifact or during a natural disaster are requested.

The topic can be expanded to address immediate reactions, such as the application of crowd-mapping technology to aid response efforts, or longer term developments stemming from disasters, such as the adoption of simple strategies. The unexpected may include surprises encountered along the way in any treatment and can be expanded to include all stakeholders, even future ones, who are affected by a disaster.

The review committees will be looking for abstracts related to the general theme, however other topics will be reviewed as well. In order to simplify abstract submission for all applicants, we have just launched a new online abstract submission tool! The submission portal is accessible through our abstracts page – to learn more about our Meeting Theme and read our General, Specialty, and Joint Sessions Call for Papers, visit www.conservation-us.org/abstracts.

Submission deadline for papers is Monday, September 14, 2015. Poster abstract submissions are due Thursday, October 1st.

Learn more about the Joint Annual Meeting & Conference here: www.conservation-us.org/annual-meeting.

If you have any questions, please contact Ruth Seyler at rseyler@conservation-us.org.

Submitted by Katelin Lee, August 21, 2015

Museum Update – The Mariners’ Museum

Courtesy The Mariners' Museum

Courtesy The Mariners’ Museum

Mariners’ Museum receives National Maritime Heritage Grant for USS Monitor Conservation

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – On Monday, April 27, The Mariners’ Museum was awarded a grant for $99,900 from the National Park Service’s National Maritime Heritage Grant Program in support of ongoing efforts to conserve and exhibit artifacts from the Civil War ironclad USS Monitor.

The grant provides for the acquisition of a state-of-the-art dry ice abrasion system for mechanically cleaning wrought iron artifacts like USS Monitor‘s gun turret and engine components. The grant also provides additional funding to hire another conservation expert to help utilize the equipment.

“This grant award from the National Maritime Heritage Grant Program is a huge force multiplier for conservators at the USS Monitor Center”, said Director of USS Monitor Center Dave Krop. “We meticulously tested this technology and believe it will increase our efficiency in the lab and potentially reduce time for certain phases of artifact treatment. It is great for the entire maritime preservation community to know that the National Park Service is committed to revitalizing this important grant program.”

The Mariners’ Museum will be the only museum in the country utilizing this technology for marine-recovered archaeological wrought iron. With nearly 200 tons of artifacts, the USS Monitor Center houses the largest marine archaeological metals conservation project in the world. Home to the iconic gun turret, gun carriages and engine, the Wet Lab provides visitors with a view of the delicate process of preserving history.

“Just like the Monitor herself, The Mariners’ Museum is employing cutting-edge innovation,” said David Alberg, Superintendent of the Monitor National Marine Sanctuary. “NOAA and The Mariners’ Museum are continuing to make progress in the effort to preserve this important icon of American history.”

The USS Monitor is a well-known icon in American history and culture—a poised player in a national civil war that inevitably became a major turning point in our country. The Monitor symbolized a new way of thinking and helped to shape the future of human relations in the United States.

The Mariners’ Museum, an educational, non-profit institution accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, preserves and interprets maritime history through an international collection of ship models, figureheads, paintings and other maritime artifacts.

Submitted by Jenna Dill, The Mariners’ Museum