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Augustus Saint-Gaudens Conservation:

Conservators at the Freer Gallery took to the Mall in the museum's first public, and outdoor conservation project.

Posted by Smithsonian Magazine on Tuesday, July 18, 2017

In July 2017, conservators Thomas Podnar and Christina Simms from the Cleveland area art conservation center McKay Lodge Conservation Laboratory used dry ice or carbon dioxide (CO2) blasting to clean a bronze sculpture by Augustus Saint-Gaudens from the collection of the Freer Gallery of Art in Washington DC.

The conservators brought their own carbon dioxide blast machine from Ohio, an IceTech model from Continental Carbonic, for the Saint-Gaudens conservation treatment.

The Augustus Saint-Gaudens conservation work was performed outdoors and made an exhibit for the public to see. The event generated a fair amount of press with some unusual representations and comments.

Also taking place in Washington, DC in 2015, was the Lunder Conservation Center symposium ICE COLD. Jim Gwinner, another sculpture conservator from the Cleveland area art conservation center McKay Lodge Conservation Laboratory, participated in this symposium demonstrating to conservators and others the use of dry ice or carbon dioxide (CO2) blasting for the cleaning of bronze statuary in preparation for restoration of finishes or for applications of new protective coatings. The demonstration was held at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, outdoors in the sculpture garden. Jim Gwinner also participated in presentations at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, demonstrating in video the abilities of dry ice or carbon dioxide (CO2) blasting to remove spray paint graffiti from Cor-Ten steel.

Ice Cold: Solid Carbon Dioxide Cleaning Symposium
Smithsonian American Art Museum & National Portrait Gallery
McEvoy Auditorium | 8th and G Streets NW | Washington DC, 20001
September 10, 2015

This full day program provided an opportunity for conservators and collection care specialists to explore the technology, applications, and benefits of solid carbon dioxide snow cleaning for collection treatment and preservation.
Solid carbon dioxide cleaning (snow to pellet) has been tested and used in critical cleaning capacities, such as the removal of surface contamination during the production of silicon microchip wafers and precision optical lenses. Significant advances in CO2 technology and its employment have produced valuable results for the field of conservation, specifically for objects with sensitive surfaces.
On Thursday, September 10, the Lunder Conservation Center presented a symposium in the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s McEvoy Auditorium. Talks focused on the discussion of past case studies, current considerations, and future possibilities in the use of solid CO2 cleaning for collection care.

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