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"The Objective of the Conservator is not to change, alter or attempt to improve the original

qualities of the object, but to preserve its integrity for future generations study and


Graffiti Removal / Cor-Ten Sculpture


Title: Madison Gateway

Accession Number: 2004.01

Materials: Cor-Ten steel


Overall stable

Graffiti in blue brushed on paint on approx. area 20 x 30 inches, bottom of center loop.


•Reduced graffiti paint with VOC solvent, (not solubilizing that would allow liquefied paint to migrate into steel oxidation layer.)

•Applied water/MEK microemulsion to lift remaining paint

•Mechanical action limited to stiff nylon brush to minimize disruption of oxidation layer.

•Applied iron oxide in 5% acetic acid plus sodium chloride in a peroxide to jump-start re-oxidation process.

Ultraviolet light examination of coatings for an original surface recovery.

  • The orange in both photos exposes the original shellac coating, while the pale green indicated added layers of an unknown resin to be removed. 
  • Patches in the photo on the left show cleaning tests to remove the added layers without harming the original shellac.

Tightly rolled and daamaged Post-Civil war letter on fabric

Unrolled, stabilized, and mounted to spun polyester fabric

Severely weather-damaged polychrome wooden sign

Paint stabilized, cleaned and re-touched

Transport damage to mahogany fretwork

Broken marble building plaque

Cleaning-19thC portrait of President Garfield

Dewetting an oxidized linseed oil film with a propylene carbonate microemulsion.

Large losses on 19thC. gilded frame corner

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