Steaming Ahead II!

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I forgot to post this image of the port side of the engine.  It shows alot of the areas that aren’t visible in the image in the previous blog post. 

As I write this, we are transfering treatment solution back into the engine tank to keep the engine wet and prevent corrosion over the weekend.  We will drain the tank again next week to finish our tasks.

Steaming Ahead!

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We are wrapping up our second week of deconcretion in the engine tank.  It was a particulary exciting week because we continued to expose more original surfaces of the engine.   This may sound silly, but the engine is starting to look more like an engine!  In addition to deconcretion, we also began planning for our electrolytic reduction setup and had interesting discussions about how to best disassemble the egnine into its component parts for more effective treatment. 

  The local media caught a whiff of our exciting work and started flocking to the museum.  Mark St. John Erickson ran a great story in the Daily Press (http://www.dailypress.com/news/dp-monitor-steam-engine-1210,0,2101784.story).  It includes photographs and a video filmed inside the engine tank.  A reporter from WAVY TV 10 dropped by and filmed conservators in action this morning.  The footage should air later tonight and tomorrow.  The Virginian-Pilot is also sending a reporter to the lab on Monday.  Keep your eyes and ears peeled for news updates.   Read more

Large Scale Conservation Part 2

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Recently we did some work on Monitor’s twin vibrating side-lever steam engine (seen here submerged in its treatment tank).

This engine is almost the size of my kitchen. Made mostly of cast and wrought iron it weighs approximately 30 tons. In order to keep it submerged in treatment solution this 40,000 gallon tank (the square tank in the middle of the pic) was constructed for us by the folks at the Northrop Grumman shipyard here in Newport News.   Read more

Large Scale Conservation – Part 1

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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!