Recently I had the opportunity to visit the memorial of one of the brave sailors who was lost when the Monitor sank in a storm off Cape Hatteras on December 31st, 1862. Jacob Nicklis, son of William Nicklis, a prominent tailor in Buffalo, New York had re-enlisted as an ordinary seaman in the US Navy on October 13, 1862 and joined the Monitor’s crew shortly thereafter. He is commemorated on the Nicklis-Leonard family obelisk at Forest Lawn cemetery in Buffalo.
During archaeolgical excavation of the Monitor’s turret, a spoon was found engraved with the initials ‘JN’ which was identified as having belonged to Mr. Nicklis. The spoon has been conserved and is now on display at The USS Montitor Center.
As with many artifacts, finding the most suitable treatments for the wool coat involved exploring a lot of options. Ten cleaning methods and thirteen consolidation/drying techniques were tested and assessed on samples of the coat. Quite a lot of work, but now we have them identified. These methods will properly conserve the artifact, be reversible, safe, and inexpensive. 🙂
The coat is getting cleaner and will be ready to dry sometime soon!