Wednesday, October 26, 2016
Mayor Domenic J. Sarno and Congressman Richard E. Neal announced today that the Springfield Museums have received a prestigious grant of $106,592.00 from the Institute of Museums and Library Services (IMLS) for the restoration of the Tiffany stained glass windows on the second floor of the George Vincent Smith Art Museum.
Mayor Domenic J. Sarno stated, “Very appreciative and thankful to all involved for securing this grant. We are very fortunate for a city our size to have such a well-respected museum complex that not only continues to enlighten our past but also our future too.”
The Springfield Museums will stabilize and restore 20 Tiffany stained glass windows that are original to the main façade of the George Vincent Smith Art Museum, which opened in 1896. The condition of the windows has deteriorated due to age, pollutants and the harsh New England winters. The project aims to stabilize and restore the windows as close to their original appearance and condition as possible, using appropriate conservation techniques and materials. The restoration project will begin next month and will take approximately 18 months to complete.
Congressman Richard E. Neal commented, “The Springfield Museums represent the cultural center of the City of Springfield, and the George Walter Vincent Smith Art Museum is one of its most celebrated institutions. For more than 100 years, the museum has been home to some of the most rare, eclectic and preeminent collections in New England. Thousands of people visit each year to enjoy works ranging from Japanese armor to 19th century Italian watercolors. But one of the museum's most important and iconic artifacts has been its original Tiffany stained glass windows. The last of their kind in the United States, these extraordinary windows are being restored with the help of the Institute of Museum and Library Services. As a supporter of the arts, I take great pride in all of the museums at the Quadrangle and believe we have a responsibility to preserve them for future generations. And this window restoration program demonstrates that commitment."
The project also includes a provision to protect the windows and their restoration through the addition of exterior tempered glass. The restoration will reintegrate these important decorative features with the building as well as greatly increase the effectiveness of the museum’s environmental control system.
“These windows are rare and highly significant,” said Kay Simpson, President of the Springfield Museums. “They are the only Tiffany stained glass windows in existence that were specifically commissioned for an American art museum, and they are a critical element of the overall design of the 1896 museum building. We are grateful to the IMLS for providing us with funding to stabilize and preserve these important stained glass treasures for future generations."