Monday, May 14, 2012

Cleaning these monuments a tall order

Excelsior (photo), who tops the New York State Memorial at Gettysburg National Military Park, will get a little more TLC in June during preservation maintenance on three tall monuments.

The Gettysburg Foundation is covering the cost of renting a 150-foot lift.

The New York State Memorial, dedicated in 1893, is about 90 feet tall and is in the Soldiers' National Cemetery. Park staff repaired and cleaned the bronze figure of Excelsior last summer. The aerial platform will allow staff to steam-clean the stone work on the entire monument and apply another coat of wax to the bronze.

The approximately 55-foot Vermont State Memorial, dedicated in 1893, will also be fully steam-cleaned and the bronze figure of Gen. George Stannard will receive a coat of wax.

Work on the 100-foot Pennsylvania Memorial, dedicated in 1910, will be more involved and require occasional closures, according to park officials.

It begins with walnut-shell blasting and washing of the 7,500-pound bronze sculpture, the Goddess of Victory and Peace, at the top of the memorial to remove corrosion and grime. The goddess will then be waxed, and the crew will complete the work by steam cleaning the entire monument and waxing the lower figures and the interior rotunda bronze.

During the work, the upper level observation deck may be closed to visitors for long periods of time.

Photo courtesy of Gettysburg National Military Park

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