It’s time for an update on the Yorktown gun! In the last blog post, the Yorktown gun was dry ice blasted and beginning desalination to get rid of those pesky chlorides. Since then the gun has been fully desalinated, dried, and given a protective coating to prevent future corrosion. Now the gun is ready for storage until it is time to be displayed again.
You might be thinking, “Wait a minute, STORAGE?? I wanted to see it back on display on the York River!” which is a fair thought. But as we’ve mentioned before, chlorides and high humidities can cause corrosion in archaeological iron, so to display a newly conserved cannon on a brackish river in the middle of Virginia might not be the best idea. However, we did have the gun 3-D scanned in order to make a cast model. The cast will be displayed in the gun’s place, so it will be just like having the original gun out on the York River again.
While the Yorktown gun is in storage, it is important to keep it in an ideal environment, so that we can reduce the probability of corrosion. That way when it does go on display, we can simply remove it from its crate and it will be ready to go!
Our super kind friends in Facilities made a crate that will support the weight of the gun, as well as three curved supports for it to sit on. I lined the interior of the crate with Marvelseal, a barrier film that prevents gases from passing through. This will make the crate air-tight to keep the humidity stable and prevent any pollutants in the air from getting into it. I also covered the wooden supports with Marvelseal, and foam to cushion the supports where the gun would rest.
Once the crate was air-tight, we used the crane to set the gun inside, making sure it was well balanced on the supports. Desiccant bags were added to the crate to absorb moisture and maintain low humidity. Finally, a temperature and humidity monitor was added to the crate, which can be read through a small plexiglass window we added to the lid. This way, we can check the humidity levels without opening the crate. The gun is now happily resting in it’s own microclimate at about 15% humidity, and we’ll be checking in to make sure it stays that way until it’s time for display.
Until then, good night Yorktown gun!