RIMAP Moves to Herreshoff Marine Museum in Bristol, RI

Published by Kathy Abbass on Monday, 1st July 2019 - 12:00PM

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A panorama view of the facility on August 2, ready to manage the artifacts and samples from RIMAP excavations. Photo by Amelia Hammond, ©RIMAP 2019.

RIMAP has created an artifact management facility in an industrial building on the campus of the Herresoff Marine Museum in Bristol, Rhode Island. Funded by RIMAP donors and a grant from the Australian National Maritime Museum (ANMM), the facility will provide professional services to conserve, protect, and store artifacts removed during archaeological excavations, with special attention to the needs of waterlogged materials taken from shipwreck sites and other submerged cultural  resources. RIMAP has hired a professional conservator trained at Texas A&M to manage these materials.

This facility was especially created to document, treat, and store the artifacts, and samples removed by RIMAP and the ANMM, during the planned test excavations in late August and early September, to determine if a site in Newport Harbor could be the Lord Sandwich ex Endeavour.®

The facility will also be open to serve the needs of other archaeological projects in the state and region. The facility is open to the public by appointment only. Please contact rhodeislandmap@yahoo.com for further information.  

The space before RIMAP. Photo by Joy Elvin, ©RIMAP 2019.

NewPort Architecture evaluated the space as appropriate for the planned use. RIMAP began moving in small items as soon as the year's lease was signed and then bought the supplies for the initial phase of the space's adaptation. Then a team of volunteers assembled to clean and repair, and install a safety wall to enclose its half of the loft that is now the RIMAP artifact conservation facility. Summer temperatures quickly reach more than 90° in that third floor loft, so RIMAP has invested in multiple air conditioning units to cool and dehumidify the space.

RIMAP volunteers Heather Nulton, Peter Nulton, and Debby Dwyer (with cold drink) worked in the staging area outside the new space. Photo by Joy Elvin, ©RIMAP 2019.
Volunteers repaired and painted the walls. This is RIMAP's Field Supervisor, Dr. Kerry Lynch, with an extension roller to paint that 10' high wall. Photo by Joy Elvin, ©RIMAP 2019.
RIMAP installed a waterproof barrier and indoor-outdoor carpet made out of recycled plastic bottles to protect the floor. Photo by Joy Elvin, ©RIMAP 2019.

After two days of intense work, RIMAP volunteers had cleaned, repaired windows, painted walls, installed floor covers, and created the book-shelf wall to separate RIMAP's half of the loft from the public area. A later team installed the framing and doors on the two ends of the bookshelf wall to secure the RIMAP space. It will take some time for RIMAP to complete moving the equipment and supplies but these early photos show what the space looks like after the first stage was completed.

The bookshelf wall separates and secures RIMAP's part of the adapted Herreshoff space. Photo by Joy Elvin, ©RIMAP 2019.
The outside wall. Photo by Joy Elvin, ©RIMAP 2019.
A panorama view of the facility interior on August 2, ready to manage the artifacts and samples from RIMAP excavations. Photo by Amelia Hammond, ©RIMAP 2019.
A view of the facility exterior on August 2, showing the public space outside the locked lab. Photo by Amelia Hammond, ©RIMAP 2019.
Once the facility was up and working, RIMAP sponsored an Open House for members. On August 5, Australian Consul General Alastair Walton visited with RIMAP Conservator Amelia Hammond at the facility. (from the Australian Consul General Facebook page)

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