Historic Tools

Mount Rushmore National Memorial, Black Hills, SD

Mount Rushmore National Memorial, located near Keystone, SD, is a tremendous granite sculpture by Gutzon Borglum. It features the faces of former US Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln and is located within the United States Presidential Memorial, which represents the first 150 years of the United States history. The entire memorial covers almost 1300 acres and is managed by the National Park Service.

We assessed a large collection of tools and equipment for the National Park Service that had been preserved from the carving of Mount Rushmore. The artifacts in the survey included winches, hoists, percussive drills, compressors, electric motors, boatswain chairs, measuring devices, et al.

Overall the objects were in good to fair condition for mechanical equipment that was heavily used throughout the period of the monument’s creation. Typical use-related damage to the objects included scratches, cracks, loss, stains and welded repairs. Markings and use-related damage observed on the objects enhanced the historical significance of the artifacts. The recommendations focused on the stabilization of the objects and did not make any attempt at restoring the objects to a working condition or for the repair of any use-related damage, unless it was detrimental to the long-term preservation of the object. The objects were prioritized for treatment based on their condition and current location.