NEW YORK— Statues got the celebrity treatment as workers cleaned and polished Brooklyn’s Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Arch on Monday. The cleaning was done by the Citywide Monuments Conservation Program (CMPC) as part of their conservation program to preserve outdoor monuments.
The Parks and Recreation Department founded the CMPC in 1997 to make up for budgetary gaps. According to Christine Djuric, manager of CMPC for NYC Parks Department, the program has a dual purpose to help train graduate students.
“This is a summer program where we take four graduate school level interns around the city to do maintenances and conservation work on the public sculptures,” said Djuric, who oversees the interns as they help preserve the sculptures.
Although the workers go through great lengths to preserve the original beauty of the statues, Djuric is familiar with the lengthy process.
“Right now we’re doing a maintenance on the arch and on the bronze figures and reliefs, which involved a general cleaning, doing an assessment of the current conditions, and treating those conditions whatever they may be. Re-coating the protective coating on the bronze groups and reliefs,” Djuric said.
The CMPC maintains both the famous and lesser-known statues around the city. Djuric is familiar with the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Arch as well as many of the future preservation projects.
“This is obviously one of the most major pieces in our collection. We do work on sculptures throughout the five boroughs,” Djuric said, adding that the statues received a similar cleaning back in 2000 and 2006. “We changed them to the historic color they are, which is an artificial patina. So we’re just revisiting this site to make sure that all the repairs are holding up.”