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Jan 22, 2014

January 22, 2014

By: Jeri Thomas (

PIERRE, S.D. - (DRG News) Work is progressing on a restoration project involving stained glass from the rotunda of the South Dakota Capitol Building. The stained glass panels were removed from inside the Capitol dome last August and are being cleaned and restored at the Conrad Schmitt Studios near Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Mike Mueller of the Bureau of Administration says he had a chance to see the restoration work on the glass pieces during a visit to Wisconsin last month.   He says the cleaning that was done on the glass made a big difference in how the pieces look.

Mueller says the project has involved making rubbings of the stained glass panels to create a "map" of each one.  The panels were then disassembled, and lead and putty were removed.  Mueller says the stained glass pieces were then placed on a light table, which reveals cracks and breaks; and those flaws have been cataloged and repairs are being done.  Workers also identified replacement glass pieces that have been put into the panels since they were new more than 100 years ago.  The final step in the restoration project involves reassembling each panel.   Mueller says the rotunda panels aren't flat, so Conrad Schmitt Studios has had to create custom built benches matching the curvature of the dome so that the panels fit the way they were supposed to when they were installed.

Mueller says the project to restore stained glass panels throughout the Capitol is still on track as planned, with work on panels from the rotunda, the barrel vault above the grand staircase and in the House and Senate chambers to be completed before November-when the state officially celebrates 125 years of statehood.

Conrad Schmitt Studios has a blog set up that is tracking the progress of the glass restoration project at


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