Lisa has been giving you a wonderful overview of the on going process. I will confine myself to details specific to the work.
Works of art are technical productions. Sculptures are usually made using industrial or building craft techniques which have been transferred from their original purposes to the making of art. In the case of this Statue of Liberty, much of the techniques that were used were transferred from boat- and auto manufacturing processes. The W H Mullins company, who likely made this work, developed their skills in forming metal skins in manufacturing metal boats. There are still groups involved in the collection and repair of these fascinating artifacts. You can find out more about them at http://www.mullinsboats.com/
The stiff galvanized steel sheets were formed using an “English Wheel”, a rolling device that was used in the making of automoble body parts. An operator would hold the flat sheets between the wheels and by pressing the sheet against it under pressure could form pockets and bend 3 dimensional shapes. http://www.irvansmith.com/catalog2/english_wheels.shtml
This process requires a great deal of hand work and was replaced in auto manufacturing by the use of presses with dies but in the early days an operator formed each sheet by hand with this method.
We are using a similar technology transfer in repairing the skin. Tools from auto body work, including MIG welding and, later, resinous body fillers, are used to repair the rusted sections. Later, like in auto body repairs, the sections will be sanded and painted to blend with the overall surface.
Conservation Solutions, Inc.
Lisa Bruno is the head conservator of objects at the Brooklyn Museum, where she has been working since 1993. She has previously worked at the Art Institute of Chicago, and has had internships at The Cleveland Museum of Art, the Detroit Institute of Arts, and in private practice. She has a Masters Degree in Art Conservation from the University of Delaware, Winterthur Museum Art Conservation Department. She is a Professional Associate of the American Institute for Conservation.