Crucifix Removal and Restoration

Fairfax County removed a life-sized, historic crucifix on December 6, 2006 from the former Lorton prison chapel for cleaning and restoration. The county was assisted in the removal by ELY, Inc., a firm that specializes in the proper handling and packaging of art and artifacts.

The crucifix, which dates to approximately 1961, consists of a plaster body cast modeled after a death-row inmate, later pardoned, and a cross that was likely fashioned from timbers from the prison site. The closure of Lorton prison, in 2001, resulted in a loss of climate control in the buildings causing the 15 by 8 foot crucifix to show signs of deterioration. The removal allowed for the cleaning of the crucifix and placement in more hospitable environment.

Removal of crucifix from chapelCrucifix removed and on support structureSecuring crucifix to support

                                                    Larger photos

Dana Moffett, Objects Conservator, performed cleaning and restoration work, which included the removal of ceiling plaster from the figure, a careful cleaning of the object, and adding adhesive where necessary to secure existing cracks in the object.  The crucifix was wrapped and secured for storage.

crucifix in workshop-view from aboveCurator working on crucifixCrucifix in workshopCurator with crucifix in workshop

 Larger photos


View of left side of head before treatmentView of left side of head after treatment

Left side of head before treatment (left photo) and after treatment (right photo)

Left arm before treatmentLeft arm after treatment

 Left arm before treatment (left photo) and after treatment (right photo)

(before and after photos courtesy of Dana Moffett) 


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