Assessment and conservation of Auckland Museum's Endeavour models
Endeavour model Mar.039
Model Mar.039 was made by E.P Wild. It has been in our collection for such a long time that the date of acquisition is not recorded.
It is a larger model, exquisite in detail, and possibly the oldest of the three. It was also in the poorest condition. When inspected, we could see lead corrosion was present on the anchors, which was possibly caused by the chemical interaction of the wooden materials of the ship with the lead of the anchors. The rigging threads also had extensive breakage at the points of attachment. This degredation could have been caused by:
- The composition of the pulley blocks, causing the threads to become brittle and crumble
- The adhesive holding the threads together could have failed with age
- The composition of the threads themselves, e.g. if the threads were silk and had experienced significant light exposure over possibly 100 years of existence, they could crumble with age.
- The adhesive could also be degrading the threads, especially if it is cellulose nitrate is involved.
We suspected all may have been true as the threads were extremely fragile, almost like ash. Even touching the spars or sails lightly could cause another breakage.
You can see in the photos that crumbs of rigging had fallen to the bottom of the box. In addition, everything was very dusty and dirty, and the sails were yellowed and discoloured.
The sheer fragility of the rigging made this object unsuitable for display. It would be nearly impossible to handle and conserve without causing further breakages.