Friday, September 6, 2013

Construction Begins

Though the blog has been quiet for some time now, work on the Old Senate Chamber has continued behind the scenes. Architectural investigations have concluded and the restoration of this historic space is about to begin! This upcoming work will return the room back to its architectural appearance when Congress convened in the chamber in 1783-1784.

Over the past nine months, architects and scholars have analyzed all extant evidence from the 18th, 19th and 20th century renovations in this space, exposing a tremendous amount of original building materials. This work has included the removal of nearly all of the recognizable architecture from the 1905 and 1940 restorations, including floor, paint and plaster, ceiling, and visitor's gallery. More accurate versions of each of these elements, and many others, will be recreated as part of the restoration.

The niche was covered for its protection during some of the architectural investigations. One of the windows has also been transformed into a construction entrance, 30 January 2013.

 As you can see from the photographs, elaborate scaffolding now covers most of the chamber. This will allow the contractors and specialized tradesmen access to all areas within the room.

Image of the scaffolding now up in the Old Senate Chamber, 5 September 2013.

The Old Senate Chamber is scheduled to reopen to the public in December 2014, the 231st anniversary of George Washington's resignation of his commission.

As construction proceeds, we plan to chronicle the restoration with entries on the history and architecture of the chamber, as well as the people and processes involved in returning this space to its original appearance. Special features will also highlight the new interpretive exhibits that will be unveiled as part of this restoration.

Please stay tuned for more updates!

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