The Return of IR

Posted on
Improvised ‘blunderbuss,’ ca. 1900. Image Credit: The Mariners’ Museum and Park.

Back in 2019, Molly McGath and I posted about the Conservation team’s digital infrared camera . The camera has been used numerous times in the intervening two years, but I wanted to share a particularly cool little mystery the IR camera recently helped us figure out!

Last month, two of our curators were looking into the provenance of a really interesting artifact in our Collection: this improvised ‘blunderbuss,’ essentially fashioned out of pipe and a crudely shaped wooden stock. We had little information about this gun, other than the fact that it belonged to Rear Admiral James Kelsey Cogswell in the late 19th century.   Read more

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

Posted on
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 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?

Posted on

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. . .

Posted on
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!

Posted on
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