More than Skin Deep: Material Identification of a Gut Skin Parka

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Iñupiaq Gut Skin Parka, (2019.0024.000001).

Earlier this year, Collections Manager Jeanne Willoz-Egnor posted about the Museum’s newly acquired gut skin parka.

In addition to establishing provenance and discovering the cultural significance of this incredible object and the people who made it, the Museum was interested in learning more about the specific materials used to create the parka. This information adds to our understanding of how the parka was made and used and the unique story of its life. And as Jeanne pointed out, identifying the materials present had pretty important legal implications in the process of its acquisition!   Read more

Even the lion has to defend himself against… lichen?

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The Lions are ready for the catwalk again. Conservation cleaning of four of the Museum’s most iconic treasures is complete for this year.

These before and after images highlight the reduction of biological growth from the surface of the stone. As mentioned in a previous post  (see A Lion by Any Other Color…), lichen, moss, and ‘mildew’ all degrade the surface of the stone. Without regular and careful cleaning and care, the details in Anna Hyatt Huntington’s sculptures can be lost over time.   Read more

A Lion by Any Other Color. . .

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The conservation team in front of the Southwest Lion during cleaning. Left to Right: Assistant Objects Conservator Paige Schmidt, USS Monitor Collections Manager Mike Saul, Assistant Conservator Laurie King, Archaeological Conservator Erik Farrell, and Volunteer Conservator Arianna DiMucci. Image Credit: The Mariners’ Museum and Park, photographer: Crystal R. Hines

If you’ve visited our Lions Bridge over the last couple of weeks, you may have seen our signature Lions turning shades of red and orange.  Never Fear! Nothing is wrong.  Rather, the conservation team is giving our Lions a ‘grooming.’

These cleaning sessions are done to maintain the longevity of our Lions.  Biological growth and air pollution on the limestone sculptures and granite bases will damage them over time.   Read more

The Bronze Door Society Paves the Way for New Possibilities at the Museum!

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Zeiss Axioscope 5 Microscope, equipped with transmitted and reflected bright field, dark field, polarization, and UV fluorescence. In the lab, mounted with Axiocam 305 camera with workstation and ZEN imaging software. Image credit: The Mariners’ Museum and Park.

My pitch to The Bronze Door Society during the annual project selection dinner last fall dressed as Sherlock Holmes (and complete with an impeccable English accent, if I do say so myself) was well worth it. After months of anticipation, the Batten Conservation Complex’s new microscope, one of the projects funded by The Bronze Door Society, has finally arrived! (to learn more about The Bronze Door Society, go here: https://www.marinersmuseum.org/bronze-door-society/).

The new Zeiss Axioscope 5  will allow conservators and scientists to view samples at high magnification with polarized light, darkfield and brightfield illumination, and ultraviolet visible fluorescence. These analytical features, in conjunction with our new workstation, camera, and imaging software, will allow us to view, capture, and share information that we previously could not attain in-house.   Read more

I-Arghhhh: The Use of an Infrared (IR) Camera in Conservation

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Valentine viewed by the camera in ‘visible’ light (light our eyes can detect). (Image credit: The Mariners’ Museum and Park)

Last month, Dr. Molly McGath and I unveiled conservation’s infrared camera to the public during the ‘Be My Mariner’ event. Visitors created Valentines for their special someones, and included a ‘secret’ message that only our IR camera could reveal.

The event was a lot of fun, and it was great to see all of the creative and clever ideas kids (and their parents!) came up with for their Valentines.   Read more