The Artifacts in the Park campaign rolls on and so do our anchors. Some of them recently took a ride down Jefferson Avenue to Davis Boat Works in downtown Newport News.
Thanks to a generous offer from Senator Frank Wagner, our process has changed dramatically. Wagner donated the services of his marine repair facility, Davis Boat Works. With their expertise, staff from Coastal Cleaning and a blasting process involving recycled glass media, a job that would take us months to complete by hand is now reduced to just a few days. When the cleaning is completed, each piece gets coated with an anti-corrosive product and a polyurethane finish that will protect the artifacts for at least 20 years.
A few weeks ago, the first two anchors were loaded onto a trailer to head down the road. They didn’t get very far. Despite careful calculations, the weight of the anchors broke the trailer hitch. So…. on to Plan B. They were loaded into the Museum’s dump truck and they began their journey, probably to the great amusement of many drivers along the way. Can you imagine the conversations during dinner that night? ““I was sitting at the traffic light and this truck with these huge anchors pulled up next to me….” Definitely not a normal occurrence.
Hours after the anchors arrived at Davis Boat Works, the phone calls started. An excited voice on the other end of the line brought the news that inscriptions had been found underneath the paint. Letters and numbers that had been hand carved into the metal are now visible, maybe for the first time since they were first used at sea. These dates and weights can be used to verify what is already in our files or to fill in missing information about these marvelous objects.
Only a few days later, the anchors returned to the museum. Because the cleaning process was so quick, the sites where the anchors will sit are still being prepared. Hopefully the delay will be a short one and soon you will have the opportunity to admire these huge pieces of history.