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NCPTT’s Materials Research Program focuses on understanding how cultural materials deteriorate with time and developing new methods to preserve these materials.

Research

Cutting Marble

Cutting Marble

MRP summer intern Lauren Vienne dry cuts treated samples in preperation for soluble salts testing.
(Photo Credit: Jason Church)

Comparative Study of Commercially Available Cleaners for Use on Federally-issued Headstones

Mary Striegel presented the results of the ongoing research to National Cemetery Administration (NCA) administrators and staff on June 6, 2007 in Washington, D.C. Based on the results of the work, NCA has agreed to provide $31,600 to extend the study for two additional years in two geographically distinct regions. The regrowth of bacteria, algae and fungi will be monitored on headstones previously cleaned with one of five commercially available cleaners. Monitoring will take place in Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, St. Louis, Mo., and Alexandria National Cemetery, Pineville, La.

Dr. Catherine Situma

Dr. Catherine Situma

Dr. Catherine Situma prepares samples for the enviromental exposure chamber.
(Photo Credit: Stace Miller)

New Joint Faculty

Dr. Catherine Situma joins NCPTT’s staff as a joint NCPTT/ NSU faculty member currently working on the determination of sulfur dioxide uptake on treated Salem limestone. Situma is using the environmental exposure facility and ion chromatography. She earned her Bachelor of Science (chemistry) degree at the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology in Kenya. Upon completion, she obtained her Ph.D. in analytical chemistry from the Louisiana State University under the supervision of Dr. Steven A. Soper. Her graduate work involved surface functionalization of polymeric substrates such as poly (methylmethacrylate) (PMMA), poly (dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS), polycarbonate (PC) among others, for attachment of linear and hairpin DNA. The molecular association events between the surface attached DNA and other biomolecules were extensively studied using fluorescence spectroscopy techniques.

Satish Pandey

Satish Pandey

Satish Pandy prepares limestone samples for the environmental exposure chamber.
(Photo Credit: Stace Miller)

Air pollution deposition studies

Under Situma’s direction, the US/ICOMOS fellow, Satish Pandey, resumed studies of air pollution deposition to consolidated limestone samples. Using NCPTT’s environmental exposure chamber, Situma and Pandey began exposing treated Salem limestones for 10 days under controlled humidity, wind speed, temperature and sulphur dioxide dose. In these studies, sulphur dioxide deposition velocities on Salem limestones that have been consolidated with various treatments such OH-100, Eponex 1510, HCT, and B72, are compared with each other and with untreated stones. The deposition velocity, which is the ratio of deposition flux to concentration, permits the quantitative assessment of the affinity of the Salem limestones to absorb pollutants after they have been treated and exposed to sulphur dioxide pollution. These studies will be very helpful in deciding which treatment/consolidant is best suited to protecting Salem limestones from the effects of air pollution. These studies will be very helpful in deciding which treatment/consolidant is best suited to protecting Salem limestones from the effects of air pollution.

Portable XRF

Portable XRF

Jason Church takes measurements from the Macombe Monument using portable XRF.
(Photo Credit: Mary Striegel)

NCPTT and HPTC at Historic Congressional Cemetery

The Historic Preservation Training Center has provided $45,000 to NCPTT for the assessment, repair and conservation of the Arsenal and Macomb Monuments located within Congressional Cemetery. Mary Striegel and Jason Church conducted a thorough condition assessment and documentation of the monuments June 4-7, 2007 and incorporated consultation with Irving Slavid and Norman Weiss of Monument Conservation Collaborative into the project. Testing and evaluation included digital microscopy, color imetry, X-ray Fluorescence analysis, biological analysis and photo-documentation. In the lab, NCPTT is evaluating various cleaning methods after pretreating soiled, sugaring marble with Prosoco’s Hydroxylating Conversion Treatment (HCT). Samples of Lee and Danby marble have been cored and cut to size then immersed in 0.15 M concentration of sulfuric acid for 30 minutes. Next the samples were soiled using lamp black. These samples will be treated with HCT then cleaned with a variety of chemical, mechanical or laser cleaning methods. Cleaning treatments may include D/2 antimicrobial cleaner, World Environmental Group’s Marble & Granite Cleaner, Procoso’s Biowashcleaner, a custom Ammonium carbonate poultice, water, JOS abrasive cleaner, and laser cleaning. Evaluation will include visual comparison, laser profilometry, colorimetry, and adhesion tests, among others.

Laser Cleaning of Graffiti

Laser Cleaning of Graffiti

MRP Intern Stace Miller cleans graffiti from a marble sample using the Nd YAG laser.
(Photo Credit: Mary Striegel)

NCPTT’s Laser Facility

NCPTT worked with consultant Dr. Margaret Abraham to complete the NSU/NCPTT joint laser research facility and undertake safety and operational training. NCPTT is pleased to report that the Neodymium Yttrium Aluminum Garnet (Nd YAG) laser is operational and work has begun to optimize laser parameters for removal of graffiti from Colorado Yule marble samples.

Training and Outreach

Materials Research Summer Interns and Fellow

The Materials Research Program hosted four interns this summer including Bianca Garcia (University of Delaware), Stace Miller (Northwestern State University), Satish Pandey (Oxford University), and Lauren Vienne (University of Texas at Austin). Interns began their ten-week tenure at NCPTT starting the week of June 4, 2007 and undertook a variety of projects. Students participated in the Preservation In Your Community Event at Nelson Hall, Natchitoches, La., on Aug. 9, 2007. The two-hour event included two keynote speakers and three short presentations by the summer interns. Results of research and preservation activities were also presented in posters displayed around the auditorium during the event. The public had an opportunity to interact with the interns and ask questions regarding their work.

Iron Fence Care

Iron Fence Care

Videographer David Beier films Jason Church removing a broken bolt during the Basics for Iron Fence Care video.
(Photo Credit: Stace-Miller)

New video on web and DVD

In August, Jason Church and student intern Bianca Garcia added to NCPTT’s repertoire with the production of a Spanish translation of the recent English-language Cleaning a Headstone Marker and Resetting Headstone Marker DVD. Additionally, NCPTT completed filming and production of a new video about the care and preservation of iron fence work found in cemeteries. This eight-minute video provides basic information for documenting, cleaning, stabilizing and painting iron fences. Copies of this DVD can be ordered through NCPTT and will be available online soon.

Cemetery Basics Workshops

NCPTT recently conducted cemetery workshops in partnership with two SHPOs. Jason Church and Bianca Garcia conducted a Cemetery Monument Conservation Basics workshop June 16, 2007 at City Cemetery No. 1 in San Antonio. Sponsored by the Texas Historic Commission and attended by 40 participants, the event covered documentation, condition assessment, fence repair, and basic cleaning methods. NCPTT and the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program held a Cemetery Preservation Basics Workshop in Hot Springs, Sept. 29, 2007 at Hollywood & Friendship Cemeteries. The workshop focused on cemetery survey and documentation, condition assessments, and basics of cleaning. Both state partners assumed responsibility for cost recovery and travel costs for NCPTT staff.

2007 Southeast Cemetery Monument Conservation Workshop.

NCPTT and the University of West Florida hosted the flagship CMC workshop Oct. 23-25, 2007 at St. Michael’s Cemetery in Pensacola. The three-day workshop included a variety of conservation and preservation techniques for cemetery monuments geared for the preservation professional, cemetery management, and maintenance staff. Special emphasis this year was on archeological techniques, including ground penetrating radar. This workshop marked the fifth year for this regional training series.

Consultations

Mary Striegel and Jason Church provided information and recommendations to the National Cemetery Administration regarding (1) the move of the Nashville Arch at Nashville National Cemetery (2) the replication of the Bloedner Monument at Cave Hill National Cemetery, Louisville, Ky., and (3) replacement of the Tomb of the Unknowns.

Jason Church spoke with Maureen Sullivan with the Office of the Secretary of Defense about the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Topics included the reliability of grouting and color matching of the existing cracks, the current cleaning methods used by the Army, and what improvements could be made to those methods. Also discussed were various suggestions that have been made to the Army for sealing the monument or modifying it to reduce further cracking.

Jason Church consulted with Jim Richardson of the Frankfort Ky. City Cemetery about cleaning suggestions for the 65 ft tall Carrara marble, State of Kentucky Confederate War Memorial. The state curator of Kentucky wanted to clean the worn and gypsum-encrusted monument by a method of high pressure soda blasting. After the curator cleaned a 3’ by 3’ “test patch,” work was halted until an outside consultation could be made. Jason offered alternative suggestions and recommended background investigation, testing, and a less aggressive method of cleaning.

Mary Striegel provided technical information and plans toward the development of a collections, conservation and curation facility for NCPTT, Cane River Creole National Historical Park, and Northwestern State University.

Meetings

AIC Annual Meeting, Richmond, Va. April 14-21, 2007. Kirk Cordell and Mary Striegel attended the 35th annual meeting of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works as NPS representatives. The topic of the meeting was “Fakes, Forgeries and Fabrications.” NCPTT displayed its technical information as a vendor in the exhibition hall. Mary Striegel also represented NPS at the annual meeting and the AIC board meeting as an AIC board member.

Louisiana Preservation Alliance Annual Meeting, Monroe La., May 5, 2007. Jason Church offered practical advice on the care and preservation of grave-markers in an oral presentation, “Who’s Taking Care of Grandpa’s Grave.”

Rocky Mountain Monument Builders Association Annual Conference, Utah, July 26-28, 2007. Jason Church discussed damages caused by irrigation systems in the western part of the United States in an oral presentation which was followed by a walking tour and field session in the Price City Cemetery.

Publications

Botting, Tye W.; Guidry, James; Stevens, Cole, and Striegel Mary F. “Report and Results on Vitrification of Historic Terrazzo.” APT Bulletin. In Press.

Jackson, Sarah M.; Botting, Tye; and Striegel, Mary F. “Durability of Traditional and Modified Limewashes.” APT Bulletin.Vol. XXXVIII, No. 2-3. 2007, p 19-28.

Dandridge, Debra Elaine, Lichens: The Challenge for Rock Art Conservation, A Ph.D. dissertation submitted to the Office of Graduate Studies, Texas A&M University, December 2006. This study investigates the effects that lichens have on rock surfaces in which ancient rock art (petroglyphs and pictographs) may be found. The work was undertaken through a cooperative agreement with the University of Houston. Received June 11, 2007.

Videos

Church, Jason W. and Garcia, Bianca, Iron Fence Repair DVD, Natchitoches, LA: NCPTT, August 2007, 8 min, English Language.

Church, Jason W. and Garcia, Bianca, Cleaning a Headstone Marker and Resetting Headstone Marker DVD, Natchitoches, LA: NCPTT, August 2007, 10 min, Spanish Language Translation.

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