Salts of the Earth: Conservation of Historic Masonry Impacted by Salts and Rising Damp

A Pilot Project at Madame John’s Legacy

Where: The Old U.S. Mint, Louisiana State Museum
When: February 19, 2016 from 9 am to 4:30 pm

The Louisiana State Museum, NCPTT and researchers involved in this pilot project at Madame John’s Legacy hosted a technical symposium at the project’s end to review the phenomena associated with this type of masonry damage and to evaluate the results of the pilot treatment. The symposium was held on February 19, 2016, in New Orleans.

This symposium explored issues related to conserving buildings that are subject to soluble salts and rising damp. Morning sessions provided an overview of materials and concepts, including brick manufacture and composition, moisture transport in buildings, and salts and desalination techniques. Afternoon sessions discussed conservation and archaeological efforts at Madame John’s Legacy and a pilot project to remediate the effects of salts and rising damp. The symposium closed with a panel discussion on opportunities for interpretation of conservation projects at historic sites, followed by a post-symposium tour of Madame John’s Legacy.

The symposium was designed to appeal to a diverse audience that represents a wide range of perspectives, from stewards of historic sites to preservation architects to museum facilities staff.

Click here for links to videos from the symposium. 

Symposium Schedule:

9:00 – 9:15 AM             Introduction to the Symposium/Keynote Address (John Stubbs, Tulane University)

9:15 – 10:00 AM          Bricks: Overview of Manufacture, Composition and How They Perform (Frank G. Matero, University of Pennsylvania)

10:00 – 10:45 AM        Building Systems and Moisture Transport: Issues of Moisture in Buildings, Causes and Remediation (Michael C. Henry, Watson & Henry Associates, University of Pennsylvania)

10:45 – 11:15 AM        Coffee Break

11:15 – 12:00 PM         Salts and Desalination (Eric Doehne, Conservation Sciences Inc.)

12:00 – 1:30 PM           Lunch on your own

1:30 – 1:45 PM              Madame John’s Legacy: A Microcosm of French Quarter History (John Magill, Retired Curator/Historian, The Historic New Orleans Collection)

1:45 – 2:15 PM             Archaeological Investigations at Madame John’s Legacy (Ryan Gray, UNO Department of Anthropology)

2:15 – 2:45 PM             Madame John’s Legacy: Overview of Conservation History (Dorothy Krotzer, Building Conservation Associates, Inc.)

2:45 – 3:30 PM             Madame John’s Legacy Pilot Project: Discussion of Pilot Project Implementation and Results (Marlene Goeke, Building Conservation Associates; Michael Shoriak, Cypress Building Conservation)

3:30 – 4:15 PM             Wrap-Up Discussion: Questions and Answers from the Audience

4:15 – 4:45 PM             Panel Discussion: Conservation Projects and Opportunities for Interpretation at Historic Sites

4:45 PM                       A Visit to Madame John’s Legacy (John Magill, Retired Curator/Historian, The Historic New Orleans Collection)

5:00 PM                       Depart for Madame John’s Legacy (632 Dumaine Street)

Symposium Participants:

John H. Stubbs is Christovich Senior Professor of Preservation Practice and Director of the Master of Preservation Studies program in the Tulane School of Architecture in New Orleans. He assumed his present position in July 2011 after over three decades of architectural conservation practice in New York City that included ten years as an associate at Beyer Blinder Belle Architects & Planners and over two decades serving as Vice President for Field Projects for the World Monuments Fund. From 1990-2009 he served adjunct Associate Professor of Preservation in Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. Since 2001, John has led a large research effort documenting the history, parameters, theories and practice of architectural conservation in all parts of the world, a publishing project that has thus far yielded two books: Time Honored’ A Global View of Architectural Conservation and Architectural Conservation in Europe and the Americas. He is currently at work on Architectural Conservation in Asia to be published in 2016. In addition to his duties at Tulane, John serves as a senior advisor to the World Monuments Fund and is involved with a number of consulting projects.

Frank G. Matero is Professor of Architecture and former Chair of the Graduate Program in Historic Preservation at the School of Design at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Director and founder of the Architectural Conservation Laboratory and a member of the Graduate Group in the Department of Art History and Research Associate of the University Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. He was previously on faculty at the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation of Columbia University and guest lecturer at the International Center for the Study of Preservation and the Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM) in Rome, as well as visiting lecturer at the Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico. He received his graduate education in architecture and preservation at Columbia University and in fine arts conservation at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University. He is a Professional Associate of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works and former Co-chair of the Research and Technical Studies Group and on editorial boards of The Getty Conservation Institute and the Journal of Architectural Conservation. He is founder and editor-in-chief of Change Over Time, a new international journal on conservation and the built environment published by Penn Press.

Eric Doehne is a heritage scientist specializing in historic materials, such as ancient pigments, ceramics and stone. He holds a B.S. in geology from Haverford College, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in geology from the University of California, Davis. Eric coauthored the book “Stone Conservation: An Overview of Current Research, 2nd Edition” with Clifford Price at University College London. Research projects include salt weathering, magnesian limestone (in collaboration with English Heritage), and Desalination of Porous Building Materials–a 2006-2009 research collaboration funded by the European Commission. A staff scientist and consultant for the Getty for many years, in 2012 Eris was the International Chair at the University of Cergy Pontoise for the PATRIMA project in French cultural heritage preservation. Since 2011, he has developed five interdisciplinary courses and currently teaches art conservation at Scripps College in Claremont and Occidental College in Los Angeles. His website is

Michael C. Henry, PE, AIA is Principal Engineer/Architect with Watson & Henry Associates. Michael consults on sustainable environmental management for museums for preventive conservation of collections; investigation, monitoring, analysis and assessment of historic buildings; investigation and analysis of the performance of historic and contemporary building envelopes; and engineered stabilization and relocation of large museum objects. He has consulted throughout the United States and in Cuba, Mexico, Brazil, Tunisia and India. With Shin Maekawa and Vincent Beltran, Michael is co-author of the book Environmental Management for Collections: Alternative Conservation Strategies for Hot and Humid Climates, published by the Getty Conservation Institute in 2015. Michael is Adjunct Professor of Architecture in the Graduate Program in Historic Preservation at the University of Pennsylvania and he lectures on buildings and conservation environments in the Winterthur/University of Delaware Graduate Program in Art Conservation. Michael has a Master of Science in Engineering degree from the University of Pennsylvania and a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering degree from the University of Houston.

Dr. D. Ryan Gray is an assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of New Orleans. His work focuses on issues of race and urban development in the post-Emancipation South, particularly as explored through historical archaeology.  He received his MA and PhD in Anthropology from the University of Chicago, and he is currently working on a book examining the slum clearance movement, segregation, and the origins of public housing in New Orleans. Since 2012, Gray has directed a summer field school in historical archaeology at UNO, with past excavation sites including Madame John’s Legacy, 810 Royal Street, and a block in Storyville, the city’s red light district. Information on the most recent work at 810 Royal can be found at

Dorothy Krotzer is currently the Director of the Philadelphia office of Building Conservation Associates, Inc. (BCA), a historic preservation consulting firm. Dorothy has twenty years of experience in the architectural conservation field and in this time has been involved with every aspect of building restoration—from conditions assessment and documentation to development and implementation of conservation treatments. Over the course of her career, Dorothy has worked on a broad range of conservation projects throughout the United States. However, as a native of New Orleans, she has a pronounced interest in the preservation of the architecture of the Southeastern part of the country. She has been involved with conservation projects at Fort Sumter; the U.S. Capitol; the Cablido and Presbytere; and St. Louis Cemetery No. 1. Dorothy was formerly an adjunct lecturer at Tulane University’s Master of Preservation Studies program, where she oversaw the 2013 Madame John’s Legacy Technical Conservation Project.

Marlene Goeke has been an architectural conservator in the Philadelphia office of Building Conservation Associates, Inc. since 2009. She has expertise in both historic preservation and architectural conservation and has worked on a range of projects throughout the United States, including projects at Washington National Cathedral, Wrigley Field in Chicago, the Aiken Rhett House in Charleston, South Carolina, and the Wagner Free Institute of Science in Philadelphia. Marlene studied at the University of Pennsylvania, where she earned a Master’s in Historic Preservation and an Advanced Certificate in Architectural Conservation.

Michael Shoriak co-founded Cypress Building Conservation (CBC) where he is the Director of the Conservation Laboratory. He currently serves as an adjunct professor at Tulane University, where he teaches the Preservation Studio within the School of Architecture. A native of Gonzales, LA, Michael earned a Master of Science in Historic Preservation from the University of Pennsylvania School of Design. He also holds a MA in Public History from Temple University and a BA in History from Louisiana State University with minors in Art History and Philosophy. Prior to co-founding CBC, Michael developed a conditions assessment including treatment recommendations for the marble facade of William Strickland’s Mechanics’ National Bank (built 1827) in Philadelphia, PA. Michael also developed a rapid conditions assessment technique for Native American structures, now used by Grand Canyon and Rocky Mountain National Parks. Upon returning to Louisiana, he served as an architectural historian for the New Orleans Uptown National Register District survey.

John Magill has recently retired as senior curator / historian from The Historic New Orleans Collection where he worked for over thirty three years. Although born in New Orleans he was brought up in California, and returned to attend LSUNO — now UNO. His specialty is the urban growth of New Orleans and development of its historic infrastructure. He has written and lectured extensively on these subjects, along with other aspects of the city’s social history ranging from neighborhood development to Carnival. Books to which he has contributed include: Marie Adrian Pesac: Louisiana Artist, Charting Louisiana: 500 Years of Maps, Classic New Orleans, and has co-written with Peggy Scott Laborde: Canal Street: New Orleans’ Great Wide Way, and Christmas in New Orleans.