The whole conservation team was busy doing some maintenance work on the USS Monitor main steam engine last week. It involved the following:
• draining the 20,000 gallons of solution, removing the stainless steel anodes and the reference electrodes
• performing a detailed conservation assessment of the engine
• thorough photo documentation of the current state of the artifact, and using these pictures to produce a 3D model of the engine
• cleaning the anodes and prepping new reference electrodes
• putting everything back in place and covering it all with a fresh caustic solution
We also were able to bring Museum staff members for a close-up view of this large object while the tank was drained. The perks of the job!
Below are a few pictures of the process for those of you who did not have a chance to check out our webcams or to come see us work live!
Now power is back on in the tank. The reference electrodes judiciously located around the engine will allow us to monitor the electrolytic reduction process in live time and to adjust the current if need be.
There is a Civil War Lecture this Saturday at 2pm: “Conserving Civil War Shipwreck: Research and Innovation”. It is free with museum admission. Come hear more about what we do behind the scenes!