A while ago, conservators, archaeologists, shipyard employees, and a corrosion expert removed a core sample from Monitor‘s revolving gun turret armor. Although long-term analysis is ongoing, yesterday we utilized a portable XRF analyzer to perform additional elemental analysis. We’ll let you know what our results are after we have a chance to review them. In the meantime, check out this picture. The 2″ metal disc is a section of the turret’s iron armor plating. It is resting on the XRF analyzer.
Yesterday we moved a recently conserved IX inch Dahlgren from the CSS Virginia, on loan from our friends at the Naval History and Heritage Command, into The Monitor Center.
What does it take to move a 9000 lb cannon? A lot of planning, and plenty of back muscle from the Museum’s Conservation and Exhibit Design staff members!
This week conservators are installing improved impressed current cathodic protection anodes on the Monitor’s gun carriages. The anodes are flexible wires supported on removable frames made of PVC pipes. Josiah designed and built the frames which allow the anode wires to protect the metal parts of the gun carriages from corrosion during wet conservation treatment. The frames are lightweight and easily removable to provide easy access to the carriages during deconcretion.
Today was a major milestone in the effort to conserve USS Monitor’s amazing artifacts. Almost 147 years after the iconic ironclad sank, conservators rotated the port gun carriage to its original upright position.
USS Monitor’s two custom-built gun carriages have been upside down since the ironclad sank on December 31, 1862. The gun carriages were discovered by archaeologists during excavations of the turret in 2002. The carriages were still secured to the 8-ton Dahlgren guns they supported during the Battle of Hampton Roads. Conservators and archaeologists carefully removed both carriages from the turret in 2004.
We’ve placed a new anode for the impressed current system to improve the corrosion protection of the Monitor’s turret. This anode is suspended within the turret to protect the interior metal surfaces.
The turret is made of eight layers of 1-inch thick wrought iron plate. You can see each of the layers in the photo below.