The Durham Museum to Restore Art Deco Ceilings

Swanson Gallery restoration

Ceiling work took place in the Swanson Gallery in 2022.

This week, The Durham Museum will begin the second phase of a project to restore Union Station’s ornate Art Deco ceilings. Following the completion of a recent multi-year restoration of Union Station’s exterior, the museum has turned inward to begin addressing repairs to the ornate historic ceilings of Union Station.

Since early 2020, the museum has been working with EverGreene Architectural Arts, a national leader in historic restoration. Last spring, EverGreene restored the ceiling in the Swanson Gallery. The scope of work included repairing damaged plaster, repainting large fields of color and cleaning, and refinishing the cast plaster ventilation grilles over the chandeliers. EverGreene has returned to Omaha to complete repairs and refinish areas in the West End Corridor and Suzanne and Walter Scott Great Hall. Scaffolding and protected walkways will be erected in the West End Corridor and the work in that area is anticipated to take approximately four to five weeks. Following that work, scaffolding and protected walkways will be erected in the Great Hall in three phases, each lasting four to six weeks.

Great Hall restoration

The 2023 restoration project will look similar to the one pictured here.

While entrances and walkways through the museum will change during this timeframe, the museum will remain open throughout the project. Plan to visit and see the work as it progresses! The project is anticipated to be completed by the end of May. The total project is expected to cost $1.615 million, and the funding for the project came from private sources within the community, as well as a grant provided through the Nebraska Department of Economic Development’s Shovel-Ready Capital Recovery and Investment Act.

Built in 1931, Union Station served as a train station for 40 years and has since served as a museum for 48 years. In December 2016, the U.S. Department of the Interior recognized the building’s significance by formally designating Union Station a National Historic Landmark, a process that the museum staff, Board of Directors, and representatives of the National Park Service worked towards for more than a decade. The elevation of Union Station to National Historic Landmark status heightened the need for vigilance in protecting the building.

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