Save the Cannon and More!

February 19, 2013 - 1:00pm - 4:00pm
Cranbrook Institute of Science

Cranbrook Institute of Science will offer the public the opportunity to help in the conservation of an 18th century cannon during Winter Break, February 18-22 and Spring Break, April 1-5. Discovered in the Detroit River in 2011 by the Detroit Police Dive Team, the cannon broke the water’s surface for the first time in more than 200 years. During the effort to “Save the Cannon” at Cranbrook, visitors will use brushes to gently remove the grime of two centuries that is slowly being loosened using a special electrolysis bath at the Institute of Science. They’ll also have the opportunity to make and take home a souvenir of their experience.

Part of the Institute’s current Extreme Deep and Dive Deep exhibitions exploring the life and artifacts at the depths of the Earth’s waters, how the cannon ended up in the river is a mystery. Bearing the monogram of King George III of Great Britain, the cannon may have been dumped into the Detroit River after “all the Kings arms” were ordered destroyed as the British retreated from America in 1796.

Chlorine dissolved in the water has penetrated deep into the iron cannon. If left to dry out, the chlorine salts would crystallize, breaking up the cannon. Submerged in a mixture of purified water and Sodium Carbonate for the last 5 months, an electrical current in the solution has been pulling the negatively-charged chlorine ions out of the cannon in preparation for final steps in the restoration processes. The cannon will be removed from the tank and visitors are invited to use small brushes to help loosen the rust, revealing more of the detail of the cannon. Following the cleaning, the cannon will be immersed in a bath of ethanol to displace the water, then coated with a solution of tannic acid to prevent further corrosion. Lastly, a layer of microcrystalline wax will be applied to seal the cannon.

“Save the Cannon” activities will take place daily from 1-4 p.m. February 18-22 and April 1-5. The Extreme Deep and Dive Deep exhibitions, and the cannon event, are free with Museum admission.

11:30am Young Stargazers Sky Journey
12:30pm Dawn of the Space Age
1:30pm Michigan Sky Tonight
2:30pm One World, One Sky: Big Bird’s Adventure
3:30pm Michigan Sky Tonight
Ages 6 & Above Only

Bat Shows are available 12:30, 1:30 and 2:30pm