Arlington Cemetery Confederate Memorial—Private

Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, VA

The Confederate Monument commemorates the Confederate dead and is rich in symbols representative of the South; the monument acknowledges the reconciliation between the North and South and depicts the effect of war on Southerners of all races. The monument consists of a larger-than-life female figure that stands atop a bronze plinth embossed with four cinerary urns symbolizing the four years of the Civil War. Below the plinth is a frieze that stands upon a two-level polished granite base.

We were contracted to assess the condition and carry out conservation treatment of many of the sculptures and monuments at Arlington National Cemetery. Our Conservators carried out a range of testing to determine the appropriate materials and techniques to be used during the treatment stage.

The monument was cleaned with ultra high pressure waterjetting (8-10,000 psi) to remove general soiling, biological growth, and corrosion. Metal repairs occurred after cleaning and before repatination to ensure repairs blended with surrounding bronze surfaces. Surfaces were evenly coated with hot wax and paste wax to protect the surface of the monument and prevent corrosion of bronze elements. Lead weathercaps were installed within skyward-facing joints to prevent deterioration and frequent maintenance of these joints. Upper joints were re-pointed with mortar and intact and stable sections were left in place.

Maintenance recommendations were presented to the Arlington Cemetery staff to reduce future deterioration and increase the longevity of the conservation treatment.