Category: Historic Presrevation

Simple RFID Technology Helps Save Fort Union National Monument from Collapse

Select a photo for a detailed description Evan Oskierko-Jeznacki, PhD Fellow & Research Associate at the Center for Architectural Conservation uses new RFID (radio frequency identification) technology on historic adobe ruins at Fort Union National Monument in New Mexico. By using RFID moisture sensors readable with commercially available RFID equipment —the same technology used in […]

Low-Cost, Non-Destructive Moisture Monitoring in Adobe Walls using Embedded RFID Technology

Background Historically, in situ monitoring of moisture movement in existing walls has been a challenge. Even today, few reliable, validated methods exist which are non-invasive or destructive. The task is made far more difficult for earthen materials (rammed earth, adobe, etc.) for which destructive techniques can be especially damaging, and feasible, nondestructive methodologies are generally […]

The Vizcaya Mansion Grotto

Last May I was lucky enough to be included in a team, along with Courtney Magill and led by Frank Matero, to travel down to the Vizcaya Mansion in Miami, Florida to have a discussion of the conservation of the grotto there, the ceiling of which was the canvas for one of Robert Chanler’s few […]

Comcast Pennovation Challenge

I have had the pleasure to work with a fantastic team (Kevin Martin, Jono Sanders, Grace Moore, and Chelsea Meyers) of integrated product design students at Penn on what would evolve into the winning proposal for Comcast’s Pennovation Challenge. Our premise: to address, target, and provide early-stage mitigation and monitoring tools for the aging and […]

Environmental Diagnostics at Fort Union National Monument, Part 4: Open Source Monitoring

Intro While formulating a monitoring methodology for the adobe ruins at Fort Union, I began to branch and extend my efforts into the late hours of the night into developing some monitoring solutions that might be just as effective–if not more effective–and significantly less cost prohibitive than the propriety solutions. I chose the Arduino platform […]

Environmental Diagnostics at Fort Union National Monument, Part 2

In June, the Penn Architectural Conservation Lab, under the direction of Frank Matero, assembled a team to revisit Fort Union National Monument. Each member of the team, comprised of current graduate students as well post-graduate fellows (myself included), had a specific focus. Topics ranged from surveying and analyzing the current structural bracing present on the […]

Investigating Ignipetal Force at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello

In identifying the state-of-the-art available at the time when Thomas Jefferson was designing Monticello, including its subsequent renovations, it was discovered that he was aware of the mechanics of intentional, convective ventilation. In correspondence with John Carey on the 4th of July, 1791, the topic of ignipetal force was discussed at length. It is hypothesized […]

Environmental Diagnostics at Fort Union National Monument, Part 1

I was in Jackson Hole, WY last summer working with the Penn Praxis team on restoring log cabins at the Bar BC dude ranch when our professor, Frank Matero, mentioned to me that prolonged intensive rains at Fort Union, NM claimed another of the adobe structures in Fort Union that had catastrophically and spontaneously collapsed. […]