Kunta Kinte - Alex Haley Memorial

Annapolis, MD

The Kunta Kinte-Alex Haley Memorial is a creative public art site in downtown Annapolis, Maryland. The focal point is a group of four cast bronze sculptures by sculptor Ed Dwight depicting Alex Haley, an African-American author, reading to three children.

The site is subject to a high volume of both vehicular and pedestrian traffic. Certain areas of the sculptures suffer a great deal of physical contact from passersby, such as rubbing, sitting, climbing, etc., polishing the areas to bare bronze metal. Limited powdery pale green deposits were observed in sheltered areas, such as folds of fabric, near the ground. Accumulated wax from past interventions attracted soiling, that had collected in recesses. Paint and clear coatings had begun to crack and flake, revealing rust and salt-driven bronze corrosion underneath.

We were first contacted in 2001 to perform periodic maintenance on the memorial. Subsequent treatments have focused on mitigating conditions as they arise before they develop into more serious problems. Decorative elements were cleaned with mild detergents and soft bristle brushes. Areas of powdery copper corrosion were removed with brass bristle brushes and treated locally with a corrosion inhibitor. Areas of excessive wax were scrubbed with mineral spirits to remove entrapped dirt and prevent dulling of sculptural detail. Spots of exposed bare metal were spot-patinated to reintegrate them with the rest of the sculpture. Bronze elements were coated with hot and cold wax, a renewable protective coating. We have continued to provide specific maintenance plans and recommendations for future treatment and have the capability to respond to the changing conditions at the site.