On September 16th, the MMA began the work to the exterior of the MMA Science Library – soon to be an ecology lab and classroom space, as well as state-of-the-art storage for our natural science collections.
With Community Preservation Act funding, the roofer arrived to begin the work. This is a special roof, made mostly of concrete tiles and completed in the 1930s when the stucco Wing was added to serve as a fireproof space for Maria Mitchell’s papers, her library, family papers and libraries, and the MMA’s Special Collections. Long ago, some poor repairs were completed to the tiles when they broke (but that said, long ago they did not necessarily have the technology and knowledge that we do today for proper conservation of such a roof). Additionally, the roof had, over the last thirty or so years, grown a very interesting moss and lichen coating which delighted in the northern exposure that faces Vestal Street.
With about a week’s worth of work, Jim Johannes of Asbestos-One in Ohio assessed the roof further, removed and cleaned the moss and other debris growing on the tiles and one day we had a brilliantly white looking roof. The roof was not originally this color. Over time, it bleached out and the coating that it had come from the manufactory with had disappeared. Now, in the second week, Johannes is re-coating the roof so that it is back to what it was when it left the factory in the 1930s. It is a nice, deep charcoal color – what it was when it was installed in the 1930s.
Next step will be the work of island mason, Wayne Morris, who will work on the stucco, the terracotta tiles, and the oxide jacking that is occurring. Stay tuned – I will keep you posted as the work progresses and give you more details about what his work entails!
A special thanks to the Community Preservation Committee for its support of this important conservation project.