Preservation Maintenance - The Enduring Legacy
With the majority of the Capitol restored, the Committee's major work has transitioned from restoration to long-term preservation maintenance. This will ensure that over time the building and its historic works will retain their present state, instead of deteriorating and making future costly campaigns of restoration necessary.
Over the years, the Committee has compiled a maintenance reference library for the Capitol Building. Each Committee project requires a Final Report documenting the project. These reports detail restoration methods utilized throughout the Capitol and serve as a basis for all maintenance performed in the building. When questions arise from preservationist in the future, we will have the benefit of these records as a reference, thus allowing future preservation to be more effective and not a matter of trial and error.
As part of the comprehensive maintenance master plan, a list of maintenance items is prepared annually, with repairs addressed as they arise. Committee staff also monitors restoration and repair of historic clocks, furniture, and artwork within the building through the use of an archival database to catalog damage and maintenance to the artifacts of the Capitol. In addition, the Committee has instituted a continuing process of cataloging historic and project photographs digitally, allowing them to be indexed, cataloged, easily searched, and retrieved, making them an invaluable tool for ongoing preservation.
Preservation often mirrors life — change being the only constant. Assessing preservation in terms of a building the size of the Capitol, change is always a definite. Different methods, materials, and techniques are always in flux. While the needs of individuals and agencies will change, priorities in state government will vary, populations will ebb and flow — one thing is certain, fiscal responsibility indicates that periodic cyclical maintenance over time is more effective than successive non-unified campaigns of often-detrimental renovation.
Unified efforts at sustaining a regular and preservation-based maintenance plan will ensure that all Pennsylvanians can be proud to walk the halls of their State Capitol, Pennsylvania's "Palace of Art." The Capitol Preservation Committee is proud to serve as its historic guardian.