Adopt-a-cannon program to help preserve historical cannons

By Sonya

MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCIV) -- Charleston has a lot of history and now the public can play a role in protecting some of those artifacts.

The Fort Sumter/Fort Moultrie Historical Trust has a new program called Adopt-a-Cannon that allows people to help save one of the most historic collections of cannons in the world.

Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie are home to some of the oldest cannons in the country, dating back to the Civil War. But time is taking its toll on these historic artifacts.

"We are in a maritime environment where the air has a very high concentration of salt in it and salt is the enemy of historic iron," said Rick Dorrance with the Fort Sumter National Monument.

The park service has made it its mission to preserve these cannons for future generations, but it comes with a hefty price tag of $5,000.

"We know that the National Park Service can't do it all by themselves so we as citizens, members of the Fort Sumter/Fort Moultrie Historical Trust, are trying to raise money through adopt a cannon program to help the national park service achieve their goal of preserving these cherished cannons," said Jim Thompson of the Fort Sumter/Fort Moultrie Historical Trust.

And some of these cherished cannons date back to the 1830s.

"These are the two oldest cannon in the fort," said Thompson. "One is getting some love; one over there needs some love. This one has already gotten some money to pay for, but this one over here doesn't and that is what we are trying to do right now is get the money to help this twin over here get some love."

That love is much more complex then a good scrubbing and a new paint job.

"It's a new system that was actually brought over from the United Kingdom," said Lisa Nasanen with Warren Lasch Conservatory. "It uses superheated water under pressure and it's basically a very, very gentle technique. It's still working under the same principle of taking off the failing coating layers and taking off any kind of active corrosion and therefore stabilizing the metal surface and the substrate that we are treating."

This preservation process should protect these pieces of history for another 50 to 100 years.

Next year, the focus will be to get money to preserve six cannons at Fort Sumter.

For more information, click here.

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