Conservation goes to Texas

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Houston Museum of Natural Science

Recently a few members of the conservation team (Laurie, Will, Paige, Molly, and our newest team member Emilie, a Paper Conservator!) were able to attend the American institute for Conservation (AIC) conference in Houston, Texas. We have written about attending conferences before, but for those of you that don’t know, this was a meeting of hundreds of conservators and museum management professionals getting together to share ideas, research and new techniques. Basically, a museum nerd’s dream.

Laurie was able to go on a special tour of the Houston Museum of Natural Science, and learn about their storage facilities. The Museum of Natural Science also hosted an evening reception, so Emilie and Laurie also got the bonus of seeing the Museums’ amazing dinosaur and fossil collection.   Read more

Engine, gun carriage, packing seal, oh my!

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1- Ventilation engine in its new frame

Hi All,
We have been working on a few large items in the Wet Lab recently. One of the ventilation engines needed a new support, which required flipping the object 45 degrees, and custom building a frame for this purpose. Additionally, a second round of dry ice blasting was applied to the port gun carriage and a first round of dry ice cleaning was performed on a section of the propeller shaft.
We just wanted to share a few pictures from all processes, so here are views of the ventilation engine re-support:

Here are a few before and after from dry ice cleaning of the port gun carriage:
   Read more

Good things in “stor-age” for the USS Monitor collection

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We were all waiting for Will to write this blog because he put so much effort into advocating and getting new cabinets for “Our Little Monitor” collection (shout-out to Anna Gibson Holloway and Jonathan W. White for their new book! Get it here if you haven’t yet). But Will’s time is sparse these days, and writing blogs usually does not make it to the top of his priority list…Too bad, these brand new storage cabinets are his babies and the Monitor collection will forever be thankful!!

But hold on… why exactly did we need new cabinets you ask?!   Read more

Update on Monitor 3-D modeling

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Beautiful computer set up for 3-D modeling thanks to the Bronze Door Society

We apologize for the recent radio silence on the Conservation Department’s side of things. We have been chugging along – slowly but surely – on smaller, individual projects. However, I am excited to share an update on the Department’s 3-D modeling efforts! Some really exciting things have happened since last we spoke of our virtual artifact attempts a year ago

We were finally able to purchase, build, and install a lovely (and very powerful) photogrammetry computer granted to us by the Bronze Door Society. It has gotten plenty of “ooohs” and “aaahs” from the lab staff and other museum personnel. This beautiful, shiny machine is powerful enough to run high quality models based off thousands of pictures and millions of 3-D points in minutes (or at most hours), where it used to take us days or weeks. (Thank you, again, Bronze Door Society!)   Read more

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