While cleaning continued, we began planning for the new armature that would support and stabilize the reliefs. Since August, when we got accurate weights on all the pieces, it had been clear that we could not put the reliefs back together permanently as each relief weighed approximately 9000 lbs and we would not be able to move them safely within the museum. We asked for an armature design that would support each relief in three main segments. The three segments would then be tied together mechanically once the segments were back in the Rotunda. We consulted a number of specialist firms and Ely Inc came up with a winning design.
This design was then reviewed by the riggers for “riggability” and vetted by Keast & Hood, structural engineers, who made sure that the design would perform as required. When that was done, a steel fabricating firm began production of the armature.