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Goliad State Park’s mission museum getting facelift
by By Beth Ellis, Goliad State Park Ranger II
Oct 10, 2013 | 62 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Construction at the Goliad State Park mission museum should be done by September 2014.
Construction at the Goliad State Park mission museum should be done by September 2014.
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If you’ve been to Goliad State Park lately, you’ve likely noticed that there’s some unusual activity taking place around the mission museum. It turns out the building is getting a facelift courtesy of a group of Texas Parks and Wildlife Department employees who are specialists in historic restoration techniques.

Known collectively as “Force Account,” these talented individuals are currently hard at work making much-needed repairs to the museum building. Starting the last week of October, the museum will be closed for a period of approximately one year. The chapel, the workshop and the mission grounds are unaffected and will remain open to the public throughout the duration of the project.

Recent history

A few years ago, the mission chapel and workshop at Goliad State Park were repaired using Proposition 8 money, which was awarded to state parks by the citizens of Texas. Unfortunately, the funding ran out before repairs could be made to the museum. The museum, therefore, had to wait until the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department was able to allocate additional funds to conduct needed repairs. Those repairs began in September and are scheduled to take place over the course of the next 12 months or so.

The primary problem the building faces concerns water intrusion, which has caused the plaster to fail in several areas on both the exterior and interior walls of the building. The viga and latilla ceilings as well as the museum windows have also suffered, with both mortar and wooden elements being affected.

Force Account crew

Force Account crew members include Wil-liam Ramos, Refugio Delgadillo, Guadalupe Pena and supervisor Paul Rivera. The team consists of individuals that have specialized knowledge in the repair and maintenance of historic structures and they integrate historic construction methods on projects.

Because of their skill in using “old-time” tools such as adzes, draw knives and similar equipment, they are often asked to provide demonstrations for historically themed programs and events around the state. They are also often tasked with teaching staff at various historic parks on how to make small repairs using original tools and techniques.

Current work

At Mission Espiritu Santo, Force Account employees are duplicating the construction methods used by the Works Progress Administration and the Civilian Conser-vation Corps during the restoration of the site in the 1930’s. For the current project, they are replicating how the workers in the 1930’s produced plaster by mixing hydrated lime with sand and adding very little Portland cement.

Regarding wooden elements, only areas of actual damage will be replaced (Ex. the ends of damaged beams) rather than replacing entire elements. The replicated pieces will be created using the same types of tools that were used in the 1930’s.

To repair cracks and failed plaster, Force Account employees are using several techniques. First comes grinding beveled edges on the numerous cracks present to ensure adhesion of new plaster and provide for a smooth final finish. More serious problems revolve around plaster that is no longer bonded to the underlying stone structure. Once the failed plaster is removed, workers will employ a three-coat process to make repairs - first applying a scratch coat, followed by a brown coat and then a top coat of plaster.

After completing exterior repairs, the Force Account crew will concentrate on making repairs to the interior of the building. Failed plaster on the walls will be repaired and the crew will also make repairs to the viga and latilla ceilings as well as the windows. Once everything is complete, the museum building will be treated to a new coat of paint inside and out.

What to expect

The museum building will be closed at the end of October and will remain closed for approximately one year in order to complete the necessary repairs. However, the chapel and workshop buildings as well as the mission grounds will continue to remain open and ready to receive visitors. So come on out for a visit. As always, Goliad State Park is open for business.
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