Restoration

From gleaming marble and vibrant art and to new public spaces, the Minnesota State Capitol’s $310 million renovation — the largest preservation effort since it first opened in 1905 — is nearing completion.

capitol building under construction

View the Minnesota Department of Administration photos of the restoration

When it was discovered that parts of the exterior marble were deteriorating and posed safety concerns, the Capitol underwent a $310 million comprehensive repair and restoration project from 2013-2017. This restoration was based on three key principles:

  • building functionality
  • life safety
  • architectural integrity

The Capitol now offers more public space, and the building’s historic furniture, artwork and interior decorations have been restored to their 1905 appearance.

Highlights from the 2013-17 restoration

  • Fully restored Senate and House of Representatives chambers and Supreme Court courtroom
  • Restored and repaired exterior marble
  • Restored decorative and fine art throughout the building
  • Professional conservation of 57 paintings
  • Extensive stencil work returning 1905 patterns and colors
  • Newly uncovered and restored skylights, historically-accurate glass front elevators and restored original furnishings
  • Cleaned, repaired and re-gilded Quadriga sculpture
  • Expanded dining in the basement level near the Rathskeller Cafe and a new grab-and-go lunch counter on the second floor (open during legislative session only)
  • Almost 40,000 square feet of new public gathering spaces including meeting rooms, working and relaxing spaces, and gallery space
  • New classrooms and tour center
  • ADA compliance

Some finishing work, as well as the installation and interpretation of some artworks, will continue in 2017, resulting in limited or no access to the roof and Quadriga, the west wing third floor and the north wing ground floor. Completion is expected by the grand opening celebration, Aug. 11-13, 2017.

Previous restoration work

A number of restoration efforts have taken place in recent years:

  • Work to restore the Governor’s Reception Room in the 1984-85
  • The Senate Chamber in 1988
  • The House of Representatives in 1989
  • Quadriga (golden statue at the base of the dome) was removed for complete restoration and gilding from 1994-95, and again in 2016
  • The Rathskeller Café in 1999
  • Third floor ceiling - All of the 3rd floor decorative ceiling restored to its original glory after water damage
The golden Quadriga sculpture viewed from the frontThe golden Quadriga sculpture viewed from the frontThe golden Quadriga sculpture viewed from the front