Durham Museum continues restoration of Art Deco ceilings

The museum will remain open throughout the project
Union Station's ceiling is being restored
Published: Jan. 9, 2023 at 2:29 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Omaha’s Durham Museum is in the second phase of a project to restore Union Station’s historic Art Deco ceilings.

Union Station was built in 1931 and served as a train station in Omaha for 40 years before being turned into a museum. In 2016, the U.S. Department of the Interior designated Union Station as a National Historic Landmark.

According to the Durham Museum, the building’s National Landmark status increased the need to restore it.

Restoration of the ceiling follows a multi-year project to restore Union Station’s exterior.

As part of the restoration, the ceilings’ plaster will be repaired, fields of color up to the decorative elements will be repainted, and any deterioration or poor previous touch-ups will be restored. Large areas of ornament with decorative treatments will also be repainted and decorated. The project also includes plaster restoration of the window returns in the West End Corridor.

A crew member works to restore the ceiling at the Durham Museum's Swanson Gallery
A crew member works to restore the ceiling at the Durham Museum's Swanson Gallery(Durham Museum)

The Durham Museum is working with EverGreene Architectural Arts, which is a national leader in historic restoration. The company returned to Omaha to work on the West End Corridor and Suzanne and Walter Scott Great Hall.

Entrances and walkways throughout the museum will change while the restoration continues. Patrons are encouraged to see the progress during their visit.

The only area of the museum to close during the project will be the Museum Shop, which will be relocated to the lower level and close from Jan. 24-26 to accommodate the move.

Scaffolding and protected walkways will be put up in the West End Corridor. Work in that area of the museum will take roughly four to five weeks. Afterward, more scaffolding will be put up in the Great Hall in three phases, each lasting four to six weeks.

The project to restore the Art Deco ceiling is estimated to cost $1,615,000. It has an estimated completion date of May 31, 2023.

Funding for the project is provided by private donors in the community and a grant from the Nebraska Department of Economic Development’s Shovel-Ready Capital Recovery and Investment Act.