Memorials are important cultural icons that dot the land by the thousands. They provide a direct connection with the past by focusing attention on an important person, place and/or event. They are meant to be a type of community scrapbook, providing a tangible way to experience history and keep it alive. Those who pause to read them are enriched by doing so.
Unfortunately, the vast majority of bronze memorials, have been seriously neglected and are in desperate need of care and attention. Over time, the clear protective coating they are given when first created breaks down. Air, moisture, industrial pollutants, bird droppings, acid rain,salt, dirt, dust, minerals from tap water and especially Ultra Violet radiation from the sun, work to break down the clear coating, leaving the bare bronze underneath vulnerable to react to the same elements.They cause the metal to tarnish, oxidize, darken and discolor, making the plaques and memorials hard to read. In severe cases they can even corrode and disintegrate.
Weathered, unreadable plaques and memorials imply they have been neglected, which implies a lack of importance. It conveys the message that the thought, consideration, hard work, expense and purpose were not worth it. What was originally meant to be a symbol of honor and recognition becomes just a dilapidated old relic that people bypass and ignore. This is the fate of every bronze plaque and memorial — unless action is taken to prevent it from happening.
Preservation is much easier and less expensive than restoration.Regular maintenance should be planned as part of the commitment to new bronze plaques & memorials. With a few simple techniques,easily obtained supplies AND willing people to take to take a few minutes a couple of times a year, they can get the care they deserve and avoid the inevitable damage that comes from neglect.