Relocation and conservation of a Roman sculpture of the goddess Juno, early second century A.D.:
March 2012, Transport into the building
On March 20, 2012, the sculpture, securely encased by the steel cradle, arrives at the Museum on a flatbed truck. Over the course of the whole day, it will be carefully transported to its final destination in the gallery.
The initial lift by crane, despite the spectacular height of 80 feet, proves to be the more readily accomplished task. Workmen on the roof direct the crane toward an opened skylight. This entry point, the only viable option for the building, is narrow and allows only a few inches of space between the steel frame and the building walls, but last year’s collaborations on the design of the frame took these limitations into account.
The commotion attracts a crowd of bystanders both inside and outside.
While the sculpture is still securely suspended by cables connected to the crane, it is lowered into a horizontal position. To spread the load (about 16,000 pounds, including 3,000 from the steel cradle and other support materials), a grid of large wooden timbers is placed on the floor of the galleries through which the sculpture will need to be maneuvered.
Sheets of Lexan, a polycarbonate of high impact resistance, provide a smooth surface on which skids can move the sculpture slowly forward.
Similar to how ancient Egyptians moved heavy blocks of stone over long distances, wooden rollers, assisted by a pulley system, are used to ease the sculpture’s progress through the galleries.
The rollers also help to distribute weight evenly across the floor.
Below, a view of the top of the sculpture, with the post tensioning rod that was inserted last year to stabilize the crack at the waist.
Feet forward, the sculpture finally enters the Behrakis Gallery where it will be displayed. (The existing opening into the gallery had been temporarily enlarged to accommodate the size of the steel frame.)