There’s no such thing as a lost cause …
Most would consider this U.S. Civil War 10th Rhode Island forage cap at the Varnum Memorial Armory Museum a lost cause. It was infested with moth larvae, mold, and had not been stored properly for many years. After giving it a lot of care, it is now an important and rare American Civil War artifact at the Varnum Memorial Armory Museum.
This forage cap worn by Private Henry A. Hamilton of Company D of the 10th Rhode Island Volunteers. The fragile logwood dye has faded to a light brown or gray although faint traces of the indigo blue are still visible. These fragile caps were worn to death and so tend to be fairly rare today (particularly when linked to a specific soldier).
In the course of the extensive cleaning and restoration, we made a carefully-sized foam insert with archival materials to ensure the inside of the cap and visor are protected from degradation via gravity. That said, we still wanted it to look natural, as if on someone’s head. In addition, we carefully cleaned away a lot of debris, dirt, moth cocoons, often with tweezers (the cap is too fragile for a vacuum of any sort).
We’re very happy that it’s back on display.