Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument Conservation—Clinton Square
The Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument located in Clinton Square in Syracuse, New York, was dedicated in 1920 to honor the twelve thousand Onondaga County servicemen who fought in the Civil War. The seventy-one foot-tall monument features two massive, six-ton bronze reliefs: Mending the Flag (on the west) and The Call to Arms (on the east).
In 2001, we assessed the monument and noted numerous loose and open joints, a number of sizable cracks in both relief panels, missing and damaged sculptural components (including a bent bayonet held by one of the sculpted soldiers), and soiling which consisted of a considerable amount of bird guano debris as well as gold spray paint.
Once a treatment plan was developed and approved by the client, we rigged and removed the sculptures and transported them to its Maryland studio. Work on the bronze reliefs included the replacement of approximately 472 ferrous bolts, 275 bronze bolts, and 76 ferrous pins; welding repairs to several large cracks and holes; and other various structural and cosmetic repairs. Loose corrosion products were removed from the bronze surfaces using water jets with low-to-medium pressure. Areas of “bare” bronze that had been concealed by the gold spray paint, and those with light green corrosion products, were patinated to unify their appearance, and a protective barrier coating of wax was applied to fulfill the client’s request for a “maintainable protective coating. ”