Tomb of the Unknowns, Arlington National Cemetery.

Tomb of the Unknowns, Arlington National Cemetery.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has just released a video on the preservation of the Tomb of the Unknowns.  The work to repair and preserve the Tomb is underway this week.

Beginning in the Fall of 2007, the National Park Service, NCPTT, and other partner organizations, including the American Institute for Conservation (AIC), the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, and the U.S. Commission for Fine Arts urged the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Arlington National Cemetery to undertake conservation treatment of the Tomb of the Unknowns.

At that time, Arlington National Cemetery published a report that recommended four options including (1) no repairs, (2) repairs, (3) repairs while procuring a replacement stone, and (4) replacement of  the monument.  Through the work of many preservation professionals,  Arlington Cemetery’s  efforts were focused on making sound treatment decisions for the repair of the Tomb.

NCPTT was active in making recommendations for treatments.  We helped to identify professional experts that could advise on the project.  NCPTT and the AIC emphasized the role of the professional conservator in the project.  We encouraged the development of a well-designed and implemented conservation treatment of the stone with color-matched fill materials to provide the Tomb monument with a visually pleasing and appropriate appearance that reflects the honor, dignity, and reverence for those whom it represents.

The culmination of those efforts comes this week.  Amy Hollis, a conservator with Worcester Eisenbrandt, Inc., is leading a team to make repairs to the Tomb of the Unknowns.  The work focuses on stable, visually-pleasing crack fills and mortar repairs.  With the help of Norman Weiss and Richard Pieper, Hollis has created a tested a series of custom restoration fill materials to be used on the Tomb.  Work is being undertaken after the cemetery closes to insure that the visitor experience is not disrupted.

National Center for Preservation Technology and Training
645 University Parkway
Natchitoches, LA 71457

Email: ncptt[at]
Phone: (318) 356-7444
Fax: (318) 356-9119