Piece of Texas history gets a touch-up

A piece of Texas history - more than 100-years-old - is getting a touch up... well -- really more of a sponge bath.

A piece of Texas history, more than 100-years-old, is getting a cleanup.

On top of the State Capitol building stands the Goddess of Liberty, holding the Lone Star of Texas.

But she is actually a replica of the original.

The first Goddess of Liberty was placed on top of the capitol back in 1888. The statue stayed there for more than 100 years, until the state took it down, restored it, and made a replica.

In 2001, the original moved to the Bullock Texas State History Museum, where she still stands tall today.

"She's in need of a little cleaning after seeing 8 million visitors through the museum over the last 17 years,” said the museum’s deputy director Margaret Koch.

"Cumulated dust dirt and debris have fallen on her surfaces and she needed to be cleaned,” said Brian Howard. "It's just typical accumulation of a traffic from visitors.”

Howard is the Owner and Conservator of Howard and Associates in Pennsylvania, who are contractors for the Texas State Preservation Board.

He said his job is to preserve what the original maker created.

"Obviously that challenge is to keep a piece looking as good as we can for as long as we can,” said Howard. "The responsibility that a museum takes on in having any object is to preserve it for as long as possible.”

They use natural brushes, a special vacuum, and a chemical sponge to clean off the dirt and dust.

"The Goddess of Liberty is made out of zinc, which needs care over time,” said Koch.

They even touched up a few areas with paint.

"For our visitors we want her to look as pristine as the day she was installed on the Capitol in 1888,” said Koch.

"So she's now good, she's clean and she's stable," said Howard.

The work was all made possible by a $20,000 Art Conservation Grant from Bank of America.

"We're ecstatic that the goddess of liberty is one of these incredible pieces very different from other things they've funded in the past, but it's just such a thrill for us to have this work done here for the people of Texas," said Koch.

People of Texas, who will now be able to see their Goddess of Liberty, for years to come.

"It really is about where our past will really in many ways influence where our future is going to be, and if we don't see those objects from our past, we're not going to have a real clear understanding of what our future could be, or what our past was," said Howard.

"She holds the lone star in her hand, but she's got her ever ready sword at her side, just speaking to the independence of the citizens of Texas, and their go get them attitude, she is ready to take on the world," said Koch.

With this grant money, the museum also digitally mapped the statue with thousands of points of light.

By fall 2017, they plan to have a 360-degree rendering of the statue on the museum's website, for people around the world to see.

 

© 2017 KVUE-TV


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