Thursday, May 10, 2007

Conserving a Ship (or at least part of one)

For almost six years, I worked as the Assistant Site Manager at the CSS Neuse State Historic Site in Kinston, NC. We had on display the hull of the ironclad and were working on developing a new museum to house it in a climate controlled environment to prevent further deterioration.

The project is ongoing, pending funding of course, and my new office is actually in the building that will eventually house the new museum. Working with such a fragile artifact that has such a definite time limit on its preservation was sometimes very frustrating on a number of levels. I'll never cease to be amazed at how many visitors would ask if we planned to restore the ironclad to its original condition. Of course, that would be impossible given the current state of the hull, and the goal is to preserve what we have left rather than try to restore something that cannot be restored.

Thanks to Kevin Levin at Civil War Memory, I have found another organization that has been working to preserve a hull. It seems that they've got the whole issue of climate control handled at this point. It makes me wonder how many visitors ask if they plan to restore the vessel to its original condition. After reading the article, its obvious that they can't.

Oh, and as a side note, the whole idea of reenacting the funeral is interesting as well, but that would take us in a totally different direction. Maybe later.

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