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Proceedings Paper

President Kennedy in Dallas: Dealey Plaza memorialized
Author(s): John F. Asmus
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Paper Abstract

The assassination of US President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963 transformed the US political landscape as well as the trajectory of subsequent world history. The venue of that tragic event in Dallas was Dealey Plaza, encompassing the "grassy knoll" and the adjacent book-depository and courthouse buildings. For the past forty years the site has undergone a series of conservation/preservation projects in order to make it more suitable for those visiting either in homage or out of curiosity. One such project concerned the deterioration of ironwork within the "Old Red Courthouse". The building architect noted that both stairway railings and floor-support trusses were corroding and deteriorating at accelerating rates. In most situations of this sort the iron would be sandblasted and repainted. However, in this instance sandblasting was inappropriate due to environmental concerns and logistical limitations. Furthermore, historical authenticity criteria dictated that the metal be preserved with its original unpainted finish. In order to avoid excessive floor loading (in this fragile old building) and the generation significant environmental air pollution (within urban Dallas) the general contractor (Avery Mays, Inc.) opted to evaluate photonic divestment. Both laser cleaning and laser glazing were assessed for efficacy and cost effectiveness. Xenon-flashlamp irradiation was evaluated both with and without citric acid augmentation. Citric acid matrix-assisted flashlamp treatment was selected for the preservation of the courthouse ironwork. This decision was based on three advantages over laser treatments: higher speed and cost effectiveness, preservation of the historic "Oliver Foundry" logo markings, and the chemical passivation and rust resistance of the final surface patina.

Paper Details

Date Published: 16 July 2007
PDF: 14 pages
Proc. SPIE 6618, O3A: Optics for Arts, Architecture, and Archaeology, 661802 (16 July 2007); doi: 10.1117/12.724292
Show Author Affiliations
John F. Asmus, Univ. of California, San Diego (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 6618:
O3A: Optics for Arts, Architecture, and Archaeology
Costas Fotakis; Luca Pezzati; Renzo Salimbeni, Editor(s)

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