Post Excavation and and who was Involved
The Smithsonian sent people out to watch the excavation and to get some ideas of what the cargo was consisting of. Various Institutions of Higher Learning had people there, Iowa State University had people participating in the excavation. University of Iowa had some people there and there was a good deal interest form the scientific community at the Bertrand excavation. The cargo was so valuable that the both the U.S. Park Service and the Smithsonian made repeated efforts to require at least some parts of it to use of their own purposes. One plan was to divide the cargo into various collections. One collection would consist of the best article in each category. The Smithsonian wanted something and the reaming articles would be divided between among the US Park Service and other museums in Iowa and Nebraska. Both the states of Nebraska and Iowa fought this plan with considerable vigor and thus so far have succeeded. Senator Culver had, in the last several months, taken a deep interest in the excavation. He has made a secure promise that the Fish and Wildlife Service will devote about $100,000 of the 1976 procreation to the protection of the cargo from the Bertrand and eventually constructing a suitable museum for its display on the ground at the refuge. One of the big faults of the excavation was what would be done with the material the the government now owns and before a it could be displayed in a museum. Everyone was solely interested in the discovery that little thought was given to what would become of it after it was dug out. It was with great difficulty that the US fish and wildlife service would operate to refute the data to obtain enough money to build a temporary laboratory and storage facticity on the refuge grounds. In this building they subjected the cargo though a preservation process that for the most part was very effective stabilizing the condition of the materials They were able to preserves such stuff like axe handles, leather, the textiles. There were different methods used to stabilize the material. The wood for instance, of coarse was completely water logged, and if it had been allowed to dry out it would have disintegrated into little pieces. What they did was dry the wood…well they didn’t dry it, they immersed it a bath of wax like liquid. As the water went out it the wax like substance anchored into the pours of the wood. Replacing the water. When the wood then was exposed to air it couldn’t dry out any further. The government had brought in some people form places as far away as Arizona and Alaska, who had experience in this type of preservation process. Although a good bit of the process used was necessary experimental because nobody had encountered a cargo of this magnitude before. The cargo was then stored wrapped plastic on shelves in the laboratory on refuge ground and that’s were it remains today. Purcell and Corvino have, so far, been the loser in this entire process. Representative Sheryl had made some efforts to get some reimbursement for them but was never able to do it. They finally went to the federal court in Omaha with a claim to the bottles of the medicinal bitters on the ground that the bitters actually were whisky disguised. The matter is still in court. They would have had control over the entire cargo if it had not been discovered by chance on refuge ground on federal land. The refuge came into being when the Army Core of Engineers had straightened the Missouri River back in the early 1950s.