Happy New Year!

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Hannah presenting her research on the USS Monitor at the Society for Historical Archaeology Annual Meeting.

Hope everyone had a happy and festive end to 2017. As Lesley’s blog described last week, our last big project was filling the turret tank with a new 1% weight/volume sodium hydroxide solution. Quite the way to finish out the year!

We are now off to a running start for 2018. Most of the team travelled to the Society for Historical Archaeology’s Annual Conference during the first week of January. The conference, held in New Orleans this year, hosts attendees from all over the world and features sessions on both underwater and terrestrial archaeology.   Read more

Coming this weekend. . .

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The next lecture in our Civil War Lecture series will be this Saturday November 4th at 2:30pm. Elsa and I will be stepping away from history a bit and discussing the science behind the materials and analytical techniques used by conservators. If you should find yourself in the Hampton Roads region this weekend you should come by The Mariners’ Museum and Park to check it out.

Happy Halloween!

What have you been up to back there?

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One of our more bent stanchions after dry ice cleaning

We have a fantastic corps of volunteers here at the museum. Over the years I’ve been fortunate enough to get to know some of them, particularly the Navigators, who greet visitors, offer tours, and make sure guests find their way to all of the exhibits. Whenever I see them, they never fail to ask how the conservation of the Monitor is going, or if we’ve discovered anything new, or sometimes more generally: what have you been up to back there lately?

So here’s what we’ve been up to lately. . .   Read more

And we’re off. . .

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Hannah taking the photos she needs to create the 3D model.

Our spring/summer season is off to a busy start. The week before going into the engine tank, we were in the condenser tank. No cleaning or disassembly took place. This draining was to perform maintenance and examine the artifact. We removed and scrubbed the anode and changed the reference electrodes. The condenser itself is in great shape. See photos below. It is now happily back under electrolytic reduction in a brand new sodium hydroxide solution.

Hannah took a ton of photos and using photogrammetry software was able to create a 3D model of the condenser. It looks fantastic. You can check it out here.   Read more

A short time ago, in a laboratory quite nearby . . .

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Last weekend I finally went to see the new Star Wars movie, I know it’s been out since December I don’t always go to see movies when they’re brand new… Anyways, it was a good movie and I enjoyed it. But when I came back to work on Tuesday and started cleaning one of the gate valves from one of the Worthington pumps all I can think is how, if you turn it a certain way, it looks like a TIE fighter! It’s a very nice copper alloy valve and it’s going to look great when it’s finished. I’m not the only one making this parallel, you can see for yourself:

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