Kunta Kinte-Alex Haley Memorial
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 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 has attracted atmospheric and particulate soiling, and has collected in recesses. Paint and clear coatings had begun to crack and flake, revealing rust and salt-driven bronze corrosion underneath.
We were first contracted by the Foundation 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 are cleaned with mild detergents and soft bristle brushes. Areas of powdery copper corrosion are removed with brass bristle brushes and may be treated locally with a corrosion inhibitor. Areas of excessive wax are scrubbed with mineral spirits to remove entrapped dirt and prevent dulling of sculptural detail. Areas of bare metal are spot-patinated to reintegrate them with the rest of the sculpture. Bronze elements are coated with hot and cold wax, a sacrificial but renewable protective coating. We have continued to provide specific maintenance plans and recommendations for future treatment, which respond to the changing conditions at the site.