Back from the ICOM-CC triennial conference!

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Keynote speakers panel

Kate and I recently returned from the ICOM-CC triennial conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, and had such a great and productive week that we want to share ALL of it with you! Thus a rather lengthy post for you to enjoy.
First of all, what’s ICOM-CC you ask?! Well, ICOM-CC stands for International Council of Museums –Committee for Conservation. Remember when we went to Chicago in April? ICOM-CC is the international version of AIC (American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Work, i.e. the American conservation association).
ICOM’s activities are focused on the following themes:
– professional cooperation and exchange;
– dissemination of knowledge and raising public awareness of museums;
– training of personnel;
– advancement of professional standards;
– elaboration and promotion of professional ethics;
– preservation of heritage and combating the illicit traffic in cultural property.
You can find out more about ICOM here.

This triennial conference marked the 50th anniversary of ICOM-CC which evolved from two ICOM groups and about 100 members in 1967 to 21 groups and about 3000 members in 2017. This year’s meeting hosted approximately 1000 members from 58 countries! (Talk about being connected to one another!!)
Kate and I (and most of us here in the lab) are members of two of those 21 groups: the WOAM group (Wet Organic Archaeological Objects) and the Metals group.    Read more

That’s not a knife, THIS is a knife!

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Lesley and Laurie working in the turret

As mentioned in our previous post, we’ve been spending quite a lot of time working in the turret the past few weeks! We’ve been taking a lot of photographs, to document how the conservation process is proceeding. We’ve also been doing some assessment for the future. But most importantly, we have been cleaning away the concretion (marine growth) and mud that is trapped in the rails.

Some of you may remember that when the USS Monitor sank, it turned upside-down. The turret is still upside-down as that is the most stable position for it to be in at the moment. Which means that in the picture above, Lesley and I are actually standing on the turret’s ceiling! The ceiling was constructed out of railroad tracks, which means there’s plenty of nooks and crevasses for concretion and corrosion to build up. AND there’s plenty of places for objects to hide!   Read more

The Turret is draining! The Turret is draining!

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The drained turret from summer of 2016

That’s right folks, it’s almost turret season! We will be draining the turret tank on July 31st, and from then on it’s turret all day, every day for those of us in the conservation lab. And trust me, we’re all very excited to get back in the turret again!

You may remember from our previous blog posts that last summer we worked on removing all of the nutguards from the interior of the turret. This summer we’ll be assessing the status of the nutguards and possibly even dry ice blasting them, so stay tuned for more nutguard updates!   Read more

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

A word from our summer intern, Kim

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Firing hammer from the starboard USS Monitor Dahlgren gun

Hi everyone!
My name is Kim, and I’m an intern at The Mariners’ Museum and Park in the Batten Conservation Complex this summer. I’m currently working towards my master’s degree in archaeological conservation at Cardiff University and am completing this internship as a requirement for my degree. My specialization is primarily focused on the conservation of marine archaeological artifacts. What better place than the USS Monitor Center at The Mariners’ Museum and Park! For those of you who follow the blog, I am in good company in the lab with assistant conservators Leslie and Laurie, two other Cardiff grads. I’m looking forward to spending my summer in Newport News and working on Monitor artifacts!
I will be working on several projects this summer, including the continued treatment of a few Monitor artifacts: small iron artifacts (studs, nuts, keys) from the port cannon carriage, copper alloy hammer from the starboard cannon, wood handle, and a concreted flange. More information about these treatments will be presented in a public lecture in August.

In addition to these treatments, I will also work alongside the rest of the Monitor team on some of the large artifacts in the “Tank Farm” and the turret later this summer. My second week is coming to a close, and it’s been a busy couple of weeks already! I’ve been fortunate enough to help Elsa and Laurie in the Tank Farm the last two weeks, removing artifacts from the tank and dry ice blasting them before resuming electrolysis.    Read more