NCPTT helps Girl Scouts earn Save Outdoor Sculpture patch
On Friday April 5th 24 Girl Scouts from Natchitoches’ Brownie Troop 462 and Junior Troop 1512 came to NCPTT to start their Save Outdoor Sculpture patch. The Save Outdoor Sculpture (SOS!) program is a nationwide effort to identify, document, and preserve America’s sculptural heritage. This long running program is a project of Heritage Preservation. To earn the patch girls had to do two learning activities and one service activity. The patch program started with NCPTT Materials Conservator Jason Church lecturing on how bronze sculptures are made. After learning how bronze is cast, the girls learned how bronze weathers and patinas are formed. One hands-on activity was to look at randomly selected pennies and arrange them from the oldest to the newest. Then the Scouts took the same pennies and rearranged them from the darkest to lightest, a discussion was led as to why some of the groups of pennies fell back into the same arrangement as they had with the date and why some of the newest pennies looked the worst. The Brownies and Juniors then learned about why and how bronze deteriorates. After the Friday talks on bronze the girls learned how stone sculpture are made from the rock cycle to the quarry to the sculpture. Next the girls learned how and why our stone sculpture deteriorates, issues such as pollution, vandalism, and human interaction were discussed. The final lessons at NCPTT on Friday were about best practices while cleaning stone sculpture, on this case emphasis was given to stone grave markers.
One service activity was still needed in order to complete their SOS! patch. For this 21 of the Girl Scouts along with troop leaders and parents showed up at 9:00AM at American Cemetery in Natchitoches to clean and care for the cemetery. NCPTT’s Jason Church with the help of Scotty Williams of Williams Gravestone Cleaning and Payne Williams of the Natchitoches Historic Foundation supervised the Girl Scouts cleaning of over 60 historic stone grave markers. The girls geared in goggles and gloves used D2 Biological Solution, soft bristle brushes, and lots of water to clean over 60 headstones of marble and granite and also earned them a combined 63 hours of voluntary community service for the Natchitoches Historic Foundation. The Girl Scouts were in amazingly high spirits all morning. My favorite overheard quotes of the day were “This is way more fun than cleaning my room” by Julia Ferrell and “I am just imagining that I am Cinderella scrubbing” by Shay Church. One of the most important aspects of the day was the future impact this patch will have on our cultural heritage, it is important to remember that it is never too early to teach respect and care of historic sites and cemeteries to our communities’ youth. That and the free pizza provided by the Natchitoches Historic Foundation.