Lincoln’s Letters: Conservation of the Inscriptions in the Lincoln Memorial.


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A description of the investigation and conservation of the original inscritions at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC.

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Lincoln’s Letters: Conservation of the Inscriptions in the Lincoln Memorial.

  1. 1. Lincoln’s Letters Conservation of the Inscriptions in the Lincoln Memorial Architecture Specialty Group AIC Conference Richmond, VA 2007
  2. 2. <ul><li>Designed by George Bacon </li></ul><ul><li>Construction began in 1914 </li></ul><ul><li>Dedicated in 1922 </li></ul><ul><li>Marble exterior </li></ul><ul><li>Limestone interior </li></ul>
  3. 3. The Inscriptions <ul><li>Carved in the Limestone </li></ul><ul><li>Over 4,500 Characters </li></ul><ul><li>The Gettysburg Address </li></ul><ul><li>Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address </li></ul><ul><li>Dedication above the Sculpture </li></ul>The Gettysburg Address
  4. 4. Existing Conditions Note areas of loss Detail of loss Mud wasp nest
  5. 5. The Dedication
  6. 6. 40x Magnification Note three different colors in the existing paint. Yellow oxide Lighter green Darker green Note cracking throughout the layers
  7. 7. A Conservation Conundrum <ul><li>Treatment of the very friable layers of paint </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Removal to bare stone? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Consolidation and Conservation of the original material? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How to provide a viable treatment plan? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Can the Consolidation be tested in a quantifiable way to provide the best of both worlds? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Conserve the original materials and provide a sound substrate for application of a new coating system. </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Methods for Measuring Adhesion in situ 3M Masking Tapes Safe-Release #2070 Adhesion of 5oz. per inch Orange Core #2080 Adhesion of 12oz. per inch Long Mask #2090 Adhesion of 25oz. per inch
  9. 9. Adhesion Tests on Untreated Material Safe Release Orange Core Long Mask
  10. 10. Consolidant Testing <ul><li>Tested 5 different consolidants including : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>AYAB (25% solids in ethanol) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Paraloid B-72 (20% in Xylene) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Winsor and Newton Gloss Varnish (undiluted) </li></ul></ul>Page Conservation applying test consolidants.
  11. 11. Results of Consolidation 40x magnification showing Consolidant filling cracks.
  12. 12. Adhesion after Consolidation Note much less loss of material. Safe Release Long Mask Orange Core 5oz./in. 25oz./in. 12oz./in.,
  13. 13. Other Testing <ul><li>Orion Laboratory tested the original material. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Found the paint was neither casein nor tempera </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>No lead was present </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>All indications pointed to a commercial oil paint </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Examination revealed three layers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>First coat was a yellow ocher </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Second coat was a light green </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Top layer was a darker green </li></ul></ul></ul>
  14. 14. Recommended Treatment <ul><li>Remove loose material with vacuum. </li></ul><ul><li>Use Winsor Newton Gloss Varnish as Consolidant , tinted with French Yellow Ocher. </li></ul><ul><li>Lightly brush dried consolidated layer to remove any loose particles. Use nylon brushes only. </li></ul><ul><li>Apply first cost of Ronan Japan Paint tinted to match the lighter green. </li></ul><ul><li>Apply second coat of Ronan Japan Paint tinted to match the darker green as the finish coat. </li></ul>
  15. 15. Staging for the Work Lights for heat. Fall protection for safety.
  16. 16. Cleaning Mud wasp nest removal.
  17. 17. Consolidation
  18. 18. Cleaning the Consolidated Letters Consolidated and cleaned.
  19. 19. Applying First Coat of Japan Paint
  20. 20. Applying Second Coat of Japan Paint
  21. 21. Painting in Progress First Coat Second Coat
  22. 22. Finished Work Dedication Panel
  23. 23. Details
  24. 24. The Second Inaugural
  25. 25. The Gettysburg Address
  26. 26. Conclusion <ul><li>Had to devise methodology for investigation and be able to provide quantifiable results. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Think “outside the box”. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Investigate several different options. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Execute the work while maintaining minimum requirements. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Surface temperature. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Material temperature and viscosity. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Safety. </li></ul></ul></ul>