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'Every 30 or 40 years' Project to restore Michigan capital rotunda and dome complete

'Every 30 or 40 years' Project to restore Michigan capital rotunda and dome complete
Barb Thumudo, Assistant Director for Capitol Facilities
Posted at 11:30 PM, Apr 05, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-05 23:30:43-04
  • The Michigan Capitol Dome interior restoration project is complete after months.
  • The rotunda scaffolding starts coming down on Tuesday, April 9th.
  • Video shows you a special tour that lets you get up close and personal.

(The following is a transcription of the full broadcast story)

"The number one view of our capital is to come in on the glass floor and look up 160 feet to the oculus," said Assistant Director for Capital Facilities Barb Thumudo.

A view that will soon be visible again.

And one I got to get awfully close to at a special tour on Friday.

"There's 10,000 individual pieces of scaffolding that you're climbing today," Thumudo said.

"This is the fourth time that we know that the building has been scaffolded in this manner since it opened in 1879," Thumudo said.

I got a better look at the work that has been done to freshen up the interior.

Like cleaning.

"The entire rim around the perimeter was sticky," Thumudo said.


"We had a ton of dust. So, 30 years of dust sitting on these ledges," Thumudo said.

And painting.

"These are what we call the ribs of the dome. These are what took the brunt of work and these are all repainted. Pretty much any of the yellow background color is all fresh paint from this project. And then all of these stencils on the ribs are fresh," Thumudo said.

They also made sure the paintings of the legendary allegorical figures were in good shape.

"This is going to happen once every 30 or 40 years where you can be face to face with our allegories," Thumudo said.

Cleaning them up and consolidating any loose or flaking paint by injecting adhesive behind it.

"It's very much like hanging wallpaper," Thumudo said.

The tour led us to the top.

A few feet below the starry inner dome above the oculus where the whole background was repainted.

"We didn't intend to do that. when we got up here we thought we would have to just wash it and clean it up. That ended up causing a milky effect. There was a bit of a haze," Thumudo said.

The project to restore the interior was priced at $3 million but ended up being under budget.

Scaffolding is expected to start on Tuesday and will take 4 weeks to complete.

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Tianna Jenkins

12:23 PM, Jan 12, 2021

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Tianna Jenkins

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