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Summer Intern in Outdoor Sculpture Conservation

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Posted: 01/12/2012

Central Park Conservancy

The Central Park Conservancy (CPC) is a private, not-for-profit organization dedicated to the maintenance and preservation of Central Park. The CPC was founded in 1980 by a group of dedicated civic and philanthropic leaders. They were determined to end Central Park's dramatic decline in the 1970s and restore it to its former splendor as America's first and foremost major urban public space, as envisioned by its 19th-century designers, Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux. Today, the Conservancy's mission is to restore, manage and enhance Central Park, in partnership with the public, for the enjoyment of present and future generations.

Summer Intern in Outdoor Sculpture Conservation
Internship Opportunity
New York, NY

Interns will be involved in the examination, documentation, preservation and conservation of the bronze and stone sculpture in Central Park, New York City.  A description of job duties and a listing of possible projects for the summer 2012 are detailed below.



Applicants must be active graduate students or recent graduates in historic preservation or objects conservation.


Applicants must possess a current United States issued drivers license or equivalent and must be physically able to lift 50 lb14s.




Your browser may not support display of this image.Monuments Conservation Internship Program


This years seasonal monuments internship program will run for ten weeks,from Monday, June 4th to Friday, August 10th, 2012. Work hours are from 7 AM to 3:30 PM, Monday through Friday. Interns will be chosen from a competitive pool of applicants to perform a wide variety of preservation and conservation activities including the regular maintenance of the Parks sculpture and select special projects.  CPC Preservation & Conservation staff will instruct and supervise the interns.  Summer housing is available at Columbia University.  Check availability at http://www.columbia.edu/cu/housing/docs/summer-residents/interns.html


Regular Maintenance

The seasonal monuments conservation interns are an integral part of our continuing efforts to maintain the Parks fifty-one bronze & stone monuments in pristine condition. Interns work in an urban park setting and will be required to safely operate vehicles and machinery under supervision. Interns should be team players physically capable of lifting heavy objects and working from a boom lift and scaffolding. They will be trained and supervised in personal and public safety precautions.


This summer the interns will conduct routine maintenance on the collection, cleaning each piece with medium pressure water washing and applying a sacrificial wax coating to protect the bronze.  They will also conduct condition assessments on each of the monuments and document their findings in a database.  Interns will gain valuable knowledge about materials and outdoor corrosion processes in an urban environment. They will receive technical training such as application of patina, finishes and coatings, and restoration and conservation techniques, while working on a wide variety of sculptural and architectural features of various materials, age, condition and conservation needs. 


Cyclical lacquer coatings restoration 


Many of Central Parks bronze monuments have lacquer coatings that require restoration. The existing failed coating must be chemically stripped off and the bronze carefully assessed to determine the scope of treatment. This includes physical repair of the bronze and its masonry base, chemical patination, metal conditioning, cleaning and coatings application. Candidate sculpture for summer 2012 include; Paul Manships Childrens Zoo (Lehman) gates and John Q.A.Wards William Shakespeare on the Mall.


Special Projects

Cleopatras Needle


The monolithic granite obelisk atop Graywacke Knoll is one of only two antiquities in the collection of the City of New York that is located outdoors. A preliminary survey to establish a baseline conditions assessment is planned for fall 2011. The survey will help devise a methodology for treatment which may include cleaning, consolidation and recommendations for future preservation maintenance. Under supervision of an alliance top conservation professionals, CPC staff and interns will assist in the implementation of the conservation treatment of this 3500+ year old treasure. 


Bethesda Terrace


Bethesda Terrace is a work of architectural and decorative genius that has been the central formal feature of the Park since its inception. The Terrace contains many ornate sandstone carvings of birds, plants, and seasonal motifs.  As with past years, interns will be involved in the restoration of missing or damaged carved sculptural features (bird heads, etc.) and will be taught the basics of stone carving, dutchman repair, composite patching and mortar replication and repair.  


Pulitzer Fountain (1913-1916)


Publisher Joseph Pulitzers bequest to the City of New York and Central Park is a proud example of the City Beautiful movement. Sculptor Karl Bitters Pomona, the goddess of abundance, crowns the Italian Renaissance-inspired fountain. The bronze figures coating requires restoration. Kress interns will assist with removal of the failed coating, cleaning, patination and application of a new water resistant, corrosion-inhibiting coating. 


Sherman Monument


Located in Grand Army Plaza, the statue was created in 1892-1903 by Augustus Saint-Gaudens, the most highly regarded American sculptor of his time.  The statue portrays General William Tecumseh Sherman on horseback led by an allegorical figure of Victory striding forward with an upraised arm.


The loss of gilding from the surface of the monument has become significant due to weathering and the large number of pigeons resting on the monument.  This year interns will explore the options of pigeon control and assist in re-gilding areas of loss. They will compare the results of recent testing- the objective of which was to identify suitable VOC- compliant coating systems, which will work in conjunction with the intricately gilt finish of the artists original intent. 


Mosaic Maintenance


Created to commemorate Richard Morris Hunt and John Lennon respectively, the Hunt and Imagine mosaics are in stable condition due in part to the work of past summer interns.  This year

OPen until
Until Filled

How to apply
Interested candidates should respond (preferably via email) with a cover letter and C.V. or resume no later than April 16, 2012 to: M.C.Reiley Associate Director of Preservation and Conservation Central Park Conservancy 14 E. 60th Street, 8th floor New York, NY 10022 Cell: 347 236-9461 Fax: 1 212 535 0448 mreiley@centralparknyc.org

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