Streator library completes mural restoration project

Open house set Sept. 23 to showcase the work

The murals were restored to their original colors at the Streator Public Library.

The Streator Public Library is hosting an open house 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, Sept. 23, to celebrate the completion of its mural restoration.

The Save America’s Treasures Grant project was recently completed. The scope of the work included restoring the electrical, dome and murals. The SAT grant funding award period was between Nov. 1, 2022, and Oct. 31. The library conducted a fundraising event in April of 2021 to raise the matching funds for the grant. The total project funding raised was $278,150.

Proud Electric installed lighting around the dome and all the wiring for the dome. The company also upgraded the electrical box and constructed the platform for the project. The board voted, as an extra cost, to install backlit glass at the top of the dome to resemble the original skylight.

Oosterbaan Painting restored the dome, repairing all cracks, applying a base coat and glazing the dome area. The glazing consisted of hand painting all the coffers and rosettes and all the decorative plasterworks.

Parma Conservation worked on the murals to remove the soot damage from a fire in the library basement in 1945. Additionally, the company removed a tinted glaze that was not original to the murals. After that process Parma was able to do the restorative and corrective work to restore the murals to their original colors and appearance. The work then focused on the decorative painting around the murals that had been added after the original installation of the murals in 1905.

The work on the project began in February and was completed by the first week of September. The library board agreed and voted to have the landing in front of the murals restored as well. Russ Lanning worked on the flooring to restore the original condition after removing the old linoleum.

The platform structure made the staff work area inaccessible, so staff worked at a temporary desk set up in the computer room. The framework is now down, and the dome and mural area are visible from the first floor and from the second-floor landing. The library’s front entrance is open to the public where staff can help them at the main floor staff desk.

Library Director Cynthia Maxwell thanked Save America’s Treasures for the opportunity to participate in the grant program for the restoration project.

“We also thank the board for setting up the fundraising event and all the contributors who helped us to reach our matching funds goal and made the project possible,” Maxwell said.

The dome and mural restoration project at the Streator Public Library is two thirds of the way complete. Mural restoration is ongoing.