Eiteljorg Musuem Blog

Cleaning our beloved bronzes

by Amy McKune, Director of museum collections, Video produced by Hyacinth Rucker, Eiteljorg new media and web coordinator | Oct 17, 2013

To keep our outdoor bronzes looking good and to preserve them for future generations, we have to go through a cleaning and re-waxing process each year (especially for our two fountains).  

This preservation process removes calcified scale buildup left behind from water and provides a wax coating to help preserve the patina on the bronze. Normally, this work is undertaken by object conservators.  But since the Eiteljorg does not have a conservation department, we usually hire some outside assistance.

This year, we hired Richard McCoy and Associates to help on the project.  Richard has over ten years experience working as an objects conservator at major museums.  Earlier this year, he formed his owned business that is based in Indianapolis.  He often works with Brose Partington, a very talented kinetic artist and accomplished mount maker, to work with him on a variety of projects.  

To build the crew needed to do this work, we arranged a six-week conservation internship for recent Purdue University graduate, Lindsey Zachman and invited IUPUI Museum Studies graduate students Claire Quimby, Rebekah Ryan and Lauren Baker, all currently interning in the Eiteljorg's collections department, to participate.  Registrar Christa Barleben and I rounded out the crew which managed in three days to clean and re-wax both the deer fountain by artist Kenneth Bunn and Southwest Summer Showers by artist Doug Hyde (Nez Perce, Assiniboine and Chippewa).

Thanks to our crew:
Richard McCoy, objects conservator
Brose Partington, conservation technician
Christa , Barleben, registrar
Lindsey Zachman, conservation intern
Rebekah Ryan, collections intern
Claire Quimby, collections Clowes Fellow
Lauren Baker, collections intern


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