Cincinnati Union Terminal Metal

Museum Center, Cincinnati, OH

Upon opening in 1933, Cincinnati Union Terminal was recognized as an artistic, architectural, and organizational achievement. Built in the Art Deco style, the station was designed to accommodate 17,000 passengers and 216 trains a day. Today Union Terminal is part of the Cincinnati Museum Center, and houses museums, theaters, a library, as well as special traveling exhibitions.

We were contracted to perform testing and assessment of the finishes of the historic metals at the Union Station Terminal Museum Center. Investigations were focused on the exterior metals. Our conservators reviewed historic photos and construction drawings relevant to the creation of the metals to understand the observed conditions. The information revealed the wide use of satin finish aluminum as well as components made of nickel silver and stainless steel.

The on-site study included numerous elements on the east façade. Each was observed, documented photographically, and tested in a manner suitable in determining the metal alloy and finish schemes. Tests such as X-ray florescence (XRF), mechanical abrasives, CO2 blasting, and disassembling were used for the study. We provided a detailed conditions assessment including documented research findings, testing analysis, and treatment recommendations.