Conservation Solutions, Inc: Art + Architecture + Artifacts

44th New York Infantry Monument Copper Railing Restoration - Gettysburg National Military Park

Site
Gettysburg National Military Park, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
Client
National Park Service

The 44th New York Infantry held the high ground at Little Round Top during the Battle of Gettysburg. Resisting repeated assaults and bombardments by the Confederates, the Infantry held its position under General Daniel Butterfield. Thirty years to the day, the impressive granite castle-like tower of the 44th New York Infantry Monument, designed by General Butterfield, was dedicated at the site. Within the structure are dedicatory bronze plaques and a bronze railing that leads up the curving steps to a viewing platform.

After 100 years of visitors and exposure to Pennsylvania winters the railing had been damaged beyond repair. End pieces were missing, supports had pulled from the walls and the rail itself had split from ice entrapped within. Conservation Solutions, Inc. (CSI) conservators were contracted by the National Parks Service to replace the dam- aged railing. After documenting the conditions, CSI removed the railing, salvaged the original mountings, created new mounts and end caps, bent and formed a new rail, patinated all of the new elements to match the historic originals, and remounted the railing in the original location. Bending and fitting the continuous railing to match the sloping curving stair was particularly challenging as most of the shaping had to occur on-site.