Archive for the ‘How the NLM healing totem is installed’ Category
Bethesda, MD. (October 2, 2011) - The healing totem was raised in the herb garden in front of the National Library of Medicine (NLM). Some clouds and rain did not dampen the spirit and enthusiasm of the people that gathered to bring the healing totem to its final home. The installation included those who traveled with the healing totem during its 5000 mile journey to NLM and persons who attended to welcome the totem to NLM .
The day started early in the morning with the arrival of the NLM Exhibitions Program team, NLM Building Operations, and the Bonsai Fine Arts installation crew who began preparing the site for the installation. Joining with the artist, Jewell James and his team, the fine arts installation crew carefully prepared the healing totem for removal from the truck. The totem was wrapped in blankets to protect its painted and carved surface, strapped securely, and with the help of a 95 foot crane slowly lifted from its horizontal position on the truck to a vertical upright position.
It looked beautiful against the blue and cloudy sky. Then, the totem was carefully walked across the herb garden, positioned above its metal bracket, and slowly lowered into place.
Following the placement of the healing totem, a prayer ceremony was held for all who were part of the journey and a part of the installation of the totem. A prayer was given by Emerson Gorman asking permission of the ground and the spirits to place the healing totem on this spot.
A sense of peace, happiness and completion was felt by all who attended and participated. The healing totem’s journey came full circle from its beginnings in Semiahmoo, Washington to its final home at NLM.
National Library of Medicine
Photos by Deshaun Williams
Last week the final concrete work was done on the plaza and supports for the totem plus the two carved benches that will be installed in October. In the picture below you can see the pedestal on which the totem will be mounted and the bolts for fastening the benches.
This week the riggers made an initial visit (in the rain) to inspect the plaza and review the site to determine how their equipment must be positioned. The riggers will transfer the totem from a flatbed truck to the plaza and secure it in place. We hope for better weather when the big day comes.
Preparation of the installation site for the totem is proceeding rapidly, and it’s very exciting to see all our plans become literally concrete. This week workers dug out the hole about 6 feet deep, finding a mysterious shoe in the process. Next they shaped the hole and placed the reinforcing rebar. Finally, they poured the main concrete footing. Below are a few images of the work. In the last you can see the rebar cylinder that will reinforce the concrete pedestal to which the totem will be attached. Great work guys!
At the conclusion of the Totem’s 5000 mile journey across the country it will be installed adjacent to the National Library of Medicine’s existing herb garden on the edge of the NIH campus. The garden is filled with medicinal herbs and painstakingly tended by dedicated local volunteers from The Potomac Unit of the Herb Society of America. The totem, along with two carved benches on a new plaza, will be placed between the garden and the fence shown here in the background.
In preparation, the herb garden will get a general sprucing up with refinished benches and new side plantings.
Preparation of the site for the totem’s installation is accelerating. All the designs, soil tests, engineering calculations, and approvals are in. All the paperwork is signed and we’re scheduled to break ground this week. Stay tuned for more updates as the foundation for the totem is laid.
Installing a healing totem is a big job and it takes many players to cover all the bases. We’ve been working on these from first concepts, through engineering and landscape design to near completion for almost 11 months now. We’re 15 weeks out from the installation in October and the design for the plaza, lighting, and support for the totem are at 95% completion! This near final round has gone up through various levels of review and approval at NIH, and is moving into contracting. We’re on our way to making a concept a reality!
Figure A: Engineering calculations to ensure that the totem will withstand earthquakes and hurricanes.
Figure B: Design elevation of the totem installed in the herb garden