Track 4: This New World: Preservation technology and emerging issues within our historic buildings and built landscapes
Metals Inventory and Assessment for the Capitol Grounds, Washington D.C.
Monday, September 24
10:30 AM - 12:00 PM
Conservation Solutions, a division of EverGreene Architectural Arts, was contracted by the Architect of the Capitol to perform an assessment and inventory of metal objects within the Capitol Grounds cultural landscape. The number of items in the Capitol Grounds survey reached over a thousand and ranged from sculptural to functional objects. No comprehensive inventory of the metals items existed. When designing a new data system for assessing, inventorying, and managing large collections of objects many factors are considered. Considerations include the type of information to be obtained, the type of objects surveyed, the technical needs for collecting and organizing the data, efficiency and ease of use, and budget. It is also necessary to think about how the database be used in future and if it needs to be adaptable and able to grow. For the Capitol Grounds Inventory and Assessment, Conservation Solutions chose an affordable and customizable digital platform that could create the survey and yield the desired project deliverables. Furthermore, the platform was transferable to other projects and types of data collection.
The final products for the Capitol Grounds Metals Inventory included: a database for the inventoried items, surveys of each item, a map of the geo-located items, and photographic documentation of each item surveyed. Conservation Solutions worked with the client to design a customized survey form. The form included information such as deterioration conditions, priority levels, metals identification, GPS location, and photographs. Each object was tagged or labeled with a unique ID code based on its location, object type and object category. The form was designed to be user-friendly and quick in the field. After standardizing the software, hardware (tablets), and realizing a training program for Conservation Solutions conservators and technicians conducting the survey, a team of surveyors was set loose on the Capitol grounds. Once surveying had begun, data was uploaded in real time to Conservation Solutions’ cloud network. The survey data could be reviewed remotely for accuracy through the software application’s website and, once accepted, the data automatically populated into individual forms, tables, and folders and were stored on the desired servers. The same data simultaneously generated to an excel spreadsheet, which connected to a map generated by the platform Microsoft Power BI. An integration feature specially designed for the survey also made it possible to automatically rename images taken during the survey in order to eliminate painstakingly re-labeling thousands of photo files.
- recognize the adaptability of the project methodology and technical tools presented by CSI and use them as a source for conducting surveys and assessments at large.
- reference a new set of surveying technologies, which may not have been previously known and which could be useful for managing large collections of objects.
- address ways conservators and the tech industry can continue to improve databases, support surveys and archives with new technologies and achieve the desired results out of the tools invested in.
- reference the survey tools that CSI has tested and implemented at the Capitol Grounds on other landscapes.