Ironwork Assessment and Conservation—Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park

Coloma, CA

The historic cemetery at Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park contains numerous grave markers, memorials, and monuments. Many are damaged, suffering from vandalism, weathering, erosion and deterioration. The California Department of Parks and Recreation contracted us to assess the conditions, make treatment recommendations, and implement those recommendations for the cast iron portions of nine significant, high priority grave markers. The intention of the conservation treatment was to maintain and preserve cemetery features in keeping with the park’s philosophy of “arrested decay. ”

Our conservators performed a thorough condition assessment of each of the monuments identified, including extensive photo-documentation of existing conditions. The conservators then developed a comprehensive treatment plan, which would include the treatment of the stone portions of the monument (to be treated by others). We worked closely with California State Parks representatives throughout the process to ensure that the treatment was consistent with the client’s goals and aesthetics.

Following the assessment we oversaw the treatment of the cast iron elements, including substantial disassembly of selected components to facilitate mold-making and recasting to replicate the missing parts. We were also tasked with cataloging and labeling all of the salvaged pieces. Close communication with the client was maintained throughout the project.