NPS Metal Conservation
National Park Service
Since 2008, the National Park Service has been collaborating with the Warren Lasch Conservation Center to research, design and implement novel conservation and preservation approaches to selected ordnance and architectural elements at Forts Moultrie and Sumter.
The treatment of items at Fort Moultrie was initiated in July 2011. 4 Civil War cannons from “Cannon Row” and 2 Endicott Rifles (c.1900s) were transported to a coating specialist’s facility for treatment.
The conservation team from the Warren Lasch Conservation Center is using a state of the art technique which utilizes a brand new type of system that has been specifically imported from the United Kingdom for this project. This system (ThermaTech® donated to the WLCC by Restorative Techniques Ltd, UK) is the first of its kind in the United States and is being used first and foremost at Fort Sumter National Monument (to include Fort Moultrie). The process uses superheated and pressurized water to remove failing paint layers and corrosion from the artifacts and is very effective, yet gentle. Corrosion inhibitors and a new coating system are then applied to preserve the artifacts for years to come.
As of late 2013, conservation work, utilizing this technology has been undertaken on some of Fort Moultrie’s unique ordnance pieces and historic architectural elements. This work includes the grave fence of the Seminole leader Osceola, iron architectural works original to the Fort and several of the Fort’s cannon. This work will continue at Fort Sumter with even more unique and historic artillery pieces to be treated. The preservation efforts are being carried out as part of the highly successful collaborative agreement between the National Park Service and the Warren Lasch Conservation Center of Clemson University.
Update: June 3, 2013 Cannons returned to public display at Fort Moultrie after undergoing conservation treatment.
Update: June 25, 2014 Original Revolutionary War Era Cannon on Display at Fort Moultrie in Time for Carolina Day Observance.
Update: December 1, 2015 Warren Lasch conservators started working on one of the 15" Rodman cannon at Fort Sumter.
Would you like to learn more how to help? Adopt a Cannon!
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Under the supervision of a Clemson Conservator the removal of deteriorated and failing coating layers and corrosion was carried out and new coatings applied. Comparative monitoring of coating performance is now being carried out. A selection of significant architectural items within the fort will be treated on site.