Iron Gates Assessment

The John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

We were contracted by the John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota to assess its historic iron gates located on the Art Museum campus. The two historic gates and fence sections are located at the entrance to the Art Museum, opened by John Ringling in 1931 to house his vast art collection and make it available to the public. The historic gates are constructed of an interesting hybrid of cast, forged, and rolled iron elements. At the time of construction, the iron was hot-dipped galvanized to protect it from corrosion, and this early treatment has been largely successful.

Concerns about the condition and safety of the gate prompted the Ringling Museum to plan for its conservation. One of the two sets of gates is currently used as a service entrance, and is opened and closed on a daily basis. Structural damage has made its operation difficult. Failure of the coating is widespread; corrosion and rust jacking exist where the galvanizing has failed. The structure is compromised by several large losses where the iron is heavily corroded. Many of the decorative cast iron finials atop the pickets are missing.

We assessed the gates and provided a comprehensive set of drawings documenting existing conditions of the gates and the necessary repairs. A treatment plan was designed to restore the appearance and functionality of the gates. The restoration work occurred 2015.