art and infrastructure -- the museum fountainproject church: our next speaker is margot broom whois a conservator for the royal albertson museum, a provincial museum covering alberta's culturaland human history, biological diversity and geological and paleontological history. asan objects conservator, she has expanded her field of training for furniture and ethnographicconservation for over twenty-five years and has published a range of topics arising fromher work. broom: thank you, jason. you will notice thatthe title is a little different. i was overly optimistic about the project. i thought that,well i did have a deadline of spring 2013 but it's way behind, so i'll talk a littlebit about that.
the outline i will talk about the backgroundthe artist commission sign condition, a little bit about the roadblocks for the project andthe team. this is the fountain this is an image from 2012. at first it came to my attentionin 2003 when the museum started planning redevelopment and the landscaping for the sight did notinclude the fountain and it was to be dismantled and taken to the warehouse. there were jokesabout the dump but it would have been the warehouse. so i became interested in thisproject and it's one of the sculptures that is always sitting there but there is no plaque,there's no description, there is no information whatsoever and even though it's been popular,there was no information about it. so the local paper had a readers contest about favoriteoutdoor sculptures, and i managed to get the
fountain onto the front page and from therea few years later i wrote an article in the museum journal magazine and you know no gooddeed goes unpunished, so a year later it became an infrastructure project. from there it becamea little bit more serious for me. the fountain was commissioned in 1965 andit was made for the centennial of canada. it was commissioned by the cabinet and theinformation that we have is that the provincial cabinet members were impressed and were supportiveof the fountain. the artist was oliver holmsten. he was a swedish sculptor who immigrated inthe late 1950's to alberta. he worked mostly in granite and bronze and he became an instructorin alberta and he taught figure sculpting and he was quite influential for over twentyyears or so that he worked in alberta.
the province commissioned several other artworksby him and these are mostly bronzes and concrete and these were mostly figures, life size figures.he also created the reliefs for the new museum. so this fountain is located in the governmenthouse park. this is a large site, about 12 acres and it has natural tree groups for weddingsand graduation photography mostly but generally it has very large plaza's that are generallyempty at dusk and an edwardian garden. so over the last few decades, two decadespossibly, it was very minimally maintained. so you can see by the dates, the originalconstruction was in 1913 when the government house was built. then the new museum was builtin 1967. there are carvings of petroglyphs from southern alberta.there is an iron statue by a local artist
professor. there is another large bronze byholmsten and that was it until the 1980's when the site had a totem pole given to itduring the university games. then there is a korean pavilion and we can see that thisis the site of the totem pole at the korean pavilion, the government house, somewherethere is the carriage house, the lumberjack, another holmsted and the storyteller, a largeiron abstract that was left from a show. the artist didn't pick it up and the petroglyphs,well there is no sign so, we don't know who did it or who we should contact.the petroglyphs and a very large plaza there that is generally empty and in the centeris the fountain. the fountain is 16 feet tall and it's actually the most popular featurein the park. it is on the south side and it
sort of anchors the heterogeneous elementsof that large space. its design was a departure from the artist's previous works which wasall figures, traditional figure based. it was commissioned as public art but it wasnever accessioned. none of the artwork on the ground that belonged to the province andthat have been purchased publically by the province are accessioned but you know it wascreated for this particular space and it has a public function and the artist himself wasinfluential in the art history of alberta and the 1960 vision was the optimism of theera. he represented that very well so it also has an educational kind of purpose. the artist'sintent was to point to the river, the north saskatchewan river that is just south of thesculpture and also connects it with the museum
where the historic and the natural historyof alberta is explained. the condition of the sculpture, the bronzework is dull but there is actually very little staining. in the 1980's it had been repaired.the form of the bronze does not fit completely into the cradle of the cement so there aregaps in between it and apparently there had been birds nesting and the solution was tofill the gaps with polyurethane foam. that then has created the staining that you seeof the bleached out area. the foam is now totally crumbled but the runoff has bleached.the cement base with a very thin stucco overcoat and has various losses and it has tintingbut generally just on the northeast side. there is actually very little staining otherwiseon the stucco that is exposed to the wind
and rain. it's actually a little weatheredbut it doesn't have a lot of lichens or things like that. here this is during the winterwhen we took climb up to see what is happening in the hollow and the top. i was concernedabout the stability of it before i knew how to get into it. because of the hairline cracks,i didn't really know how deep they would go or if the interior of the sculpture was affected.a little close up, it really is the hairline cracking and then this is from the top view,very little lichen on there so overall it's fairly clean. this is just ice that was brushedoff. other than the cracks which, i didn't know what they meant, the surface seemed fairlystable. we did some cleaning tests. an dry ice company offered to do some tests for usand did some work on the darker biological
areas but it didn't work quickly enough andgently enough so there was abrasion of the stucco and so this was not a cleaning solution.this is the underside, the belly of the sculpture and you see the water spout, the water comesout up here, splashes against the shield and then runs off the granite base and does actuallyfairly substantial damage down here. when we dismantled that, the spout was full ofpebbles and we thought children have been here because they have put these little stonesinto it because the fountain has not had water in it for the last two years and this wasalso one of the reasons why it needed the water just to protect it. water is a protectionagainst people climbing up and pulling things apart but we did find out that for some reasonwhich i don't really understand, all the irrigation
spouts contained pebbles and they need tobe cleaned out. this is what our landscaping people told me that every year they have toclean out the irrigation heads that for some reason are full of pebbles and this was oneof them. so now we knew why there was just a trickling of water coming out just likewe heard before. the project team and scope of work, so whatwe had was the infrastructure project manager, we had the architect, we had the water engineer,we had the general contractor, the facility manager who is funding the project. we havethe site property manager who looks after the maintenance and then it was me. so i basicallywas there by default and you can see the composition of the team was because there was no preservationarchitect in it, there was no curator or historian
who would actually do the research. infrastructurewas doing feasibility studies for their work but there was simply nobody else to do anykind of background or even looking at how the fountain fits into the site or give itsome weight. the infrastructure, the money that was put towards it was $520,000 and atthe present this stands at $493,000 and that only covered the mechanical issues, basicallythe water circulation and the tides of the pool.so there were major roadblocks in the project. one was that this was really an infrastructureproject and it was funded through infrastructure which is a huge department of course versusalberta culture that i work for but the major roadblock was whose fountain is it and whois really responsible for it, who does it
belong to because it was not accessioned asan artwork. my museum said well we are not responsible because it's not accessioned it'snot in our collection. the infrastructure people are demanding they said, "well it'sthe maintenance that we are responsible for," and that has not been resolved and it's reallya sticking point that the province hasn't had an inventory of outdoor sculpture fountainssince 1980 and even though there is on paper a person responsible or a program responsible,the historical resources foundation in reality this has just not been worked out. so thedirectors are still apparently discussing who will pay for it and as my conservationbudget is $7000 for the year, it simply did not cover it.the original proposal was to patch the losses
and clean the bronzes in situ. but in themeantime, we've decided that this was just going to be a stopgap measure and that somethingmore substantial is needed. so first of all, there are responsibilities and so i neededto look at the mandates and really the infrastructure mandate is landscaping, it's the system, it'spublic safety and maintaining the pool basins which they actually hadn't done in decades.even though the government house is the richest alberta resource and does have the fundingof the historical resource foundation, it's their 100 anniversary so there is quite alot of restoration going on. they simply were not prepared at this point to fund somethingthat was not on their list. so this is what i'm working on and this is why i'm so excitedto be here in this conference but we need
to have a better approach to these kind ofprojects and i think i already read quite a bit that will help me do that.going back a little bit, the site has a long history of being unsupported. there was aprevious fountain in 1917 that was dismantled before the abstract fountain was built andwhen the museum was built. i found these drawings but the fountain was actually there. documentationis very, very hard to come by. i went through the provincial archives and boxes and boxesof government records but actual construction details take a full time job to find thoseand this is a volunteer job. okay so health regulations, i beat myselfup after i put this picture into the museum magazine, the mammoth track, because i thoughtokay now i did it, i actually showed people
this is the daughter of a curator colleaguewho got married at the museum and she and her husband were taking pictures in the pooland she said, "here have a great picture" and i thought well the pool is used, peopleare interested, and it seemed like a wonderful picture to include for the friends. afteri did that i sort of beat myself up because now it became a whole issue because i actuallyhad a record of somebody stepping into the untreated water and i felt very bad aboutit until i looked on the internet and then i saw this one with the description, "groomdrops bride into the museum pool" and so now it's out on the internet so it's not justme. okay so i don't feel too guilty now. so that became a major expense point and wheni'm talking about the preservation, not hiring
the preservation architect, that was a problembecause the original cost projections, he didn't know that there would be a health problemwith the water and that the water needed to be treated and that caught the team by surprise.while the original fund was still there it now went over that it became a funding nightmare.and so now we tried to figure out what exactly, well not i but the architect and the engineerstried to figure out exactly what the regulations were and so we explained that the pool isan artistic sculpture and it is not intended for bathing and we'll comply with the regulationsas a wading pool. this went on for like email to email and so then they answered that theydon't have any regulations for reflecting pools and that as long as its labeled andmaintained for decorative purposes, it doesn't
need all the pool systems even if a few peopleare wading in it. well that was still a response and i don't know if you can read it but itwent on and on and talked about the filtration rate and the anti-entrapment and all of thatwhich i'm sure many people here will understand totally and the response of the alberta heath,went back to saying, "as i said before, a wading pool does not blah, blah, blah, howeverif you consider it a pool and it went on nobody would...so the architect, it's not intendedbut if we would leave any water in the pool, it would need to be designed to swimming poolstandards. so this is why we now have a fully treated pool even though the water level isminimal. in the picture before you saw it was at least twelve to eighteen inches highand now i think it's down to four inches.
however, we have a swimming pool quality system.so that went on so then the project manager said, "well we need the permit, we designedit for alberta health regulations even though it was never really clear if it needed thatand we've gotten all the approval if we need it. so it took a life of its own. so now,when you saw before the totem pole and the carriage house in tudor style, the petroglyphs,so now we're getting a very large pump house. i just loved the mechanical systems that wereunderground. ours is now adjacent to the sculpture and it's basically the same size more or less.the sculpture itself was really, really well constructed. the pool had twelve inches ofcement, there was nothing, it was perfect. the underlay, the rim around it and underneaththe granite that had been previously repaired,
the plumbing had been repaired, tiles werepulled out and never put back together so the water leaking was really basically justbad repairs and the tiles and those kind of things were my contribution really. we don'thave this delft style or swirly kind of design so the architect redesigned the pool and wehad some trouble finding something that matched the original tiles from the 1960's, japanesetiles which were absolutely beautiful, bubble glaze, very, very reflective and we triedto get them reproduced but it was simply too expensive. we could not afford that and theseare the fujiwa that are similar. here is the only original photograph during its construction.the steel and wire sculpture and this is the new museum that's been built.here we find the hatch to go into after we
took the splash thing off. this is the insideand so the inside was actually, it looked right, we had just had torrential rains andthere was no water inside. the flash was stained, this is on the bottom, this is looking upand now we could see how the bronzes were attached by rods, iron rods painted, corrosionpaint on top. that explained the copper staining on the outside so this wasn't just from theinterior of the bronze and the polyurethane; it actually corresponded to the fasteners.okay so the last slide. the cost estimate that we now have is for the removal of thebronzes, which as a bronze conservator, is $10,000 and once they come off then to removethe stucco and we stuccoed the whole of the sculpture and that was estimated at $16,000.i want to thank the organizers for this excellent
learning opportunity and for giving me a chanceto present this work and progress. church: we have time for one question beforeour break? yes. unknown: what kind of dual chemistry systemdid you go with? broom: good question. it's not completed.my co-author didn't give me that information. i was not at work the last week. we had ariver flood in a museum so i couldn't press him on that.unknown: so has anything been chosen yet, specifically.broom: yes. unknown: because we've had problems with differentsystems too. broom: yes, i think its chlorination.church: alright so we'll take a fifteen minute
break now so we'll start back at ...