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Shaw 54th Regiment Memorial

Boston, MA

This bronze bas-relief monument commemorates Colonel Robert Gould Shaw and the 54th Regiment, the first documented African American regiment formed in the north to fight in the Civil War. The memorial was created by noted American sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens and completed in 1897.

In 2014, Silman began work to assess deterioration and structural issues. The monument was not sealed and did not drain properly, allowing water to infiltrate the spaces behind the granite stones. Annual cycles of freezing and thawing pushed many of the stones out of place, causing damage to the stones themselves, the bronze sculpture, and the brick core upon which the sculpture rests. The steel supporting the crawlspace under the memorial plaza was found to be corroded and inadequate to support the weight of a snowplow or large crowd. Silman determined necessary repairs for the crawlspace structure and whether the monument needed a lateral support structure.

Ongoing work consists of dismantling the monument; replacing the underlying brick wall with a new concrete wall; and then reassembling the monument, which will involve anchoring stones to the back-up wall and installing a new steel frame to brace the sculpture and stones against seismic loads.

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