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Release: Jan. 16, 2001

Old Capitol Museum reopens today

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The Old Capitol Museum on the University of Iowa campus reopened at 10 a.m. today, Tuesday, Jan. 16. The museum had been closed since Dec. 18 to allow workers to repaint the interior dome, replace the chandelier cables and to perform regular maintenance.

Old Capitol annually attracts some 30,000 visitors from across the state and around the world. Built in the early 1840s, it was the first permanent seat of Iowa's territorial and state governments and was used by Iowa's lawmakers and government officials until 1857, when the state government moved to Des Moines. The building was then given to the University of Iowa. Since that time, Old Capitol has been a focal point of the university, serving as a library, chapel and armory, and providing space for classrooms and offices.

A six-year historic restoration of the building was begun in 1970 in an effort to return the building to its original Greek Revivalist style. The restoration included the offices of the territorial and state governor, treasurer and auditor; the Supreme Court Chamber; the Territorial Library and the House of Representatives Chamber. The building was reopened to the public July 3, 1976, as the UI's contribution to the U.S. Bicentennial. The restoration project also led to the Old Capitol being officially designated a national Historic Landmark by the U.S. Department of Interior.

The Old Capitol's normal hours of operation are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from noon to 4 p.m. Sundays. The building is closed on holidays. There is no admission charge to tour the building.