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Work to begin next week to restore two State Capitol sculptures

9/12/01

Officials with the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) of the West Virginia Division of Culture and History have announced that work will begin later this month to repair two statues on the State Capitol grounds. Both statues, “Mountaineer Soldier” and “Stonewall Jackson,” are being restored through the national Save Outdoor Sculpture! (SOS!) program.

Mountaineer Soldier (269K JPG) Photograph by Michael Keller

Stonewall Jackson (347K JPG) Photograph by Michael Keller

The Division last year received two SOS! Conservation Treatment Award grants totaling $8,900 to be used for conservation of the two sculptures. According to Susan M. Pierce, director of the SHPO, the statues, both of which are nearly 100 years old, have begun to show their age. Corrosion and moisture damage are taking their toll and the wax coatings applied to the sculptures in the past have failed. As part of the planned conservation work, the statues will be cleaned, the bronze patina will be restored, and a protective coating will be applied. In addition, chips and cracks in the statues’ stone bases will be repaired.

Sculpture specialist Thomas Podnar of McKay Lodge Fine Arts Conservation Laboratory Inc. in Oberlin, OH, will do the necessary work. Pierce estimates the restoration, which will begin Sept. 17, will take approximately two weeks to complete. She added that there are a number of other sculptures on the State Capitol grounds that need work and she hopes to secure funding for their conservation in the near future.

“Mountaineer Soldier” is located at the northeast corner of the Capitol grounds. The figure carries a banner and rifle, representing the home guard members who answered President Lincoln’s call to arms in 1861. Sculptor Henry K. Bush-Brown created the statue which was dedicated in 1912 on the grounds of the downtown Capitol.

“Stonewall Jackson” depicts the Confederate general Thomas Jonathon Jackson, who was a native of Harrison County. Sculpted by Moses Ezekiel, the statue was dedicated in 1910 to the memory of West Virginians who fought for the South during the Civil War. It stands at the southeast corner of the Capitol.

SOS!, a national program to heighten awareness of public sculpture, is a joint project of Heritage Preservation and Smithsonian’s National Museum of American Art. The Conservation Treatment Awards were made possible with generous support from Target Stores and the National Endowment for the Arts. The SOS! grant is being matched with funds from the Veterans Memorial Fund created with lottery proceeds by the West Virginia Legislature.

For more information, call Lora Lamarre at (304) 558-0220, ext. 711.

The West Virginia Division of Culture and History, an agency of the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts, brings together the state’s past, present and future through programs and services in the areas of archives and history, the arts, historic preservation and museums. The Cultural Center is West Virginia’s official showcase for the arts. Visit the Division’s website at www.wvculture.org for more information about programs of the Division. The Division of Culture and History is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.

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