Cape Hatteras Pedestal

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Postby bert911 » Wed Oct 04, 2006 9:42 am

I just received the following email, regarding the NPS loaning the Cape Hatteras Light Pedestal to the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum. I know there was an earlier thread regarding this, but I could not quickly locate it.



Outer Banks Group Superintendent Mike Murray announced today that the
National Park Service (NPS) will proceed with a project in partnership
with the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum (Museum) to restore the pedestal and additional lens panels from the Cape Hatteras Light. The project will include the removal and restoration of the pedestal from the upper levels of the lighthouse and the upper catadioptric lens panels from the Cape Hatteras Visitor Center, then NPS will loan the restored items to the Museum for display with the portions of the lens that are already at
the Museum on loan. As part of the project, the U.S. Coast Guard will
re-install and continue to maintain the existing DCB 2-36 beacon in the
lighthouse as an active aid-to-navigation.

Since 2002, a large portion of the 1854 lens has been on loan to the
Museum from the National Park Service. After three years of extensive
research and more than $ 80,000 in restoration costs, this portion of the lens was reassembled and made accessible to the public for the first time in over half a century. Subsequently, it was recognized that the pedestal,
currently supporting the DCB 2-36 aid-to-navigation beacon at the top
of the Lighthouse, and the upper catadioptric panels, displayed in the
bookstore of the Cape Hatteras Visitor Center, were important, integral
elements of the historic lens. The Museum raised the funding for the
pedestal restoration project and has the facility space, height,
HVAC/climate control, security systems, and ADA accessibility to allow
the full lens to be viewed and interpreted in its entirety by a diverse
audience, including those who are physically challenged.

The Park Service opened the project proposal to public comment, and
also consulted with the North Carolina State Historic Preservation Office
(SHPO). NPS received 43 public comments supporting the project, 14
comments opposed the project, and 27 people viewed the project in the
NPS "parkplanning" (PEPC) website but did not submit comments. The
commenters supportive of the project generally indicated their belief that the lens and pedestal were designed and manufactured to go together as a single assembly, should stay together, and the remaining pieces of lens would be best supported and conserved by reuniting it with the pedestal. Many of the same commenters also stated a strong preference that, whenever possible, a lens and pedestal assembly remain in its lighthouse of origin, but also indicated that is unrealistic in this case because of the
fragile condition of the lens framing and incompleteness of the lens. Those
opposed to the proposal expressed concerns about the loss of interpretive
value if the pedestal were removed, concerns about removing historic
fabric from the lighthouse, and concerns about a part of the lighthouse being located some place other than in Buxton at the lighthouse museum.

"In reviewing the comments, I'm impressed that many people feel
strongly about the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse and what they think is best for it," said Superintendent Murray. "There is a disagreement and strong
opinions about what the best treatment is. The lens and pedestal assembly are priceless, irreplaceable artifacts. My goal is to do whatever will provide the best care for the lighthouse and its key components in the long run. This project presents an immediate opportunity to restore and reunite all known elements of the original First Order Fresnel lens from the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse in a setting readily accessible to the public."
Both the lens and the pedestal remain National Park Service property on
loan to the Museum. The existing agreement for the loan of the lens
has seven years remaining on its term and will be amended to include the
pedestal and additional lens panels. The loan agreement requires the
Museum to meet American Association of Museum Standards in caring for
the artifact. To address the concerns about the loss of interpretive
opportunity at the lighthouse, the Museum will work with the Park
Service to develop an interpretive exhibit so that lighthouse visitors will
still have the opportunity to learn how the Fresnel lens and clockwork
mechanism worked together.

As part of the consultation process required under the National
Historic Preservation Act, the respective State Historic Preservation Office
(SHPO) has review authority over federal actions that my adversely affect
historic structures and sites. As part of this process the SHPO evaluates
whether removal of historic fabric will affect National Landmark or National
Register status. The North Carolina SHPO recently notified the Park
Service that even though the SHPO is concerned over the removal of a
significant element from this National Historic Landmark, the SHPO
concurs with the need for its restoration and reassembly with the lens. The SHPO concluded that there would be no adverse effect, if the following
conditions are implemented:

1. The lens pedestal and clock mechanism should be treated like an
artifact. All aspects of the removal, restoration, and conservation
work must be handled by professional conservators or experts in this

2. Disassembly and removal has the potential to cause damage to the
pedestal and clock mechanism and/or historic fabric of the
lighthouse. The State Historic Preservation Office is concerned that
many of the individual components of the pedestal are now fused together after 136 years of exposure to the marine environment. If damage to the lens pedestal, clock mechanism, or lighthouse is anticipated or occurs during the disassembly and removal process, the work must stop. At that point, further assessment must be made to determine if other methods of removal are acceptable or if the damage potential is too risky to continue. This assessment must include the National Park Service and State Historic Preservation Office.

3. The State Historic Preservation Office would like to participate
with NPS staff in monitoring the disassembly and removal process.

4. This fragile artifact must be maintained in a stable, secure and
protected environment. Every reasonable effort should be made to
provide wind and storm surge protection to the artifact while it is on
loan to the Museum.

5. There must be a guarantee that the agreement between the NPS and
the Museum is a loan that can be cancelled if there appears to be
threats to the lens from any source, including a storm. Given the status of the National Historic Landmark, the State Historic Preservation
Office believes there should be a timeline for the return of the lens
pedestal to the Lighthouse.

The project is currently planned to take place from October 10 - 23,
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Postby vacastle » Wed Oct 04, 2006 10:17 am


Thanks for posting the good news, Robert. :D

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Postby Hersh » Wed Oct 04, 2006 1:44 pm

I appreciate the update Bert, I was not particularly excited about the removal of the pedestal, but as long as it will be properly cared for, I can be happy about the situation.
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Postby Pharoslvr » Fri Oct 06, 2006 4:23 pm

Thanks for the info, Bert!

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