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Large Scale Conservation – Part 1

Hey folks, Josiah here. I’m relatively new to the Monitor Conservation Project, on a yearlong fellowship to help with all of the work to be done here and to learn about marine archaeological conservation as I go along. One of the most interesting things that I am learning from working here is the logistics of large scale conservation work. The majority of work in the conservation field tends to deal with relatively small objects, papers, paintings, etc. Often they are things that can fit on a workbench or easel and require a lot of fine detail work. Sometimes a larger sculpture or painting comes through the lab and requires a bit of planning, equipment, jigs, and improvisation to perform the necessary work. Other projects such as large outdoor sculpture are too big, or too permanent to bring into the lab, and require the conservator to move his “lab”, including scaffolding and ladders as well as the usual equipment, out to the object. The work on the Monitor is a bit different from either of those situations. It is a huge project involving both huge artifacts, and thousands of smaller artifacts, and all of it has to come to the lab. A project like this requires massive planning and investment in logistics, equipment, and support before any treatment of objects can even begin. The recovery effort to bring these objects up from the bottom of the ocean was a pretty incredible undertaking in itself, but it was long before my time here so I’m going to write mostly about the logistics of the lab and the ongoing work of treatment.

Stay tuned for Part 2!

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