More than a century ago, sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens and his assistants used a few dabs of plaster to seal shut roughly two dozen sculpture molds. The molds were then put into storage for safekeeping. Since then, the molds have passed from the Saint-Gaudens family to the non-profit Saint-Gaudens Memorial to the National Park Service, and also survived a catastrophic studio fire in 1944. Through the years, the identities of many of these sealed molds had been lost. Until now.
The National Park Service at Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site and the Department of Diagnostic Radiology at Dartmouth-Hitchcock’s medical center in Lebanon, New Hampshire, have developed a partnership to non-invasively peek at what these molds contain. With computed tomography (CT) scanning, radiologists scanned the open interior spaces of these molds and then extrapolated the negative space into a positive digital image of what these molds would have been used to cast.