U.S. National Park Service
Established in 1867, the Nashville National Cemetery originally held burials from local Civil War hospitals. Today, the 65-acre cemetery continues to act as an active cemetery for military burials. The Minnesota Monument was erected in 1920 to honor the fallen Minnesotan soldiers who fought in the Civil War. The sculptor was a prominent artist working in the Minneapolis area and was well known for his figurative work.
The first step in the conservation of the monument was protecting the granite pedestal from the chemicals used to clean the bronze sculpture. Once the stone was carefully masked with 4-mil polyethylene sheeting, work began with cleaning the bronze, first stripping the failed lacquer coating and then removing all corrosion. The sculpture was thoroughly rinsed and dried, and patinated with liver of sulfur and ferric nitrate, a combination that results in a warmer finish, to create a subtle distinction between the skin of the figure and the cloak, hair, and wreath. After a satisfactory finish was achieved, the sculpture was rinsed a final time with distilled water before receiving two heated applications of protective wax coating. WEI completed the project by cleaning the pedestal with a mild chemical, given the heavy amount of soiling on the granite. All work was carefully documented, with images taken before, during, and after treatment. Finally, a detailed treatment report was produced at the end of the project.