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Release: Sept. 17, 2001

Celebration of 25th anniversary of Old Capitol restoration set for Sept. 20

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa will celebrate the 25th anniversary of the restoration of the Old Capitol Thursday, September 20 with a reception from 4:30 to 5:45 p.m. There will be a brief program at 5:15 p.m.

The public is invited to the event marking the 25th anniversary of the restoration of the Old Capitol as a living museum reflecting the three major occupancies of Iowa history -- the Territory, the State, and the University. The six-year project was an effort to return the building to its original Greek Revivalist style. The Old Capitol was reopened to the public July 3, 1976, as the UI's contribution to the U.S. Bicentennial.

Program speakers include: UI President Mary Sue Coleman; Willard Boyd, professor of Law; Margaret Keyes, professor emeritus of Home Economics and former director of the Old Capitol; and Phillip E. Jones, UI vice president for Student Services. Guided tours of the building will be available from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. "This is a great opportunity for students to tour the Old Capitol and learn more about the place where our state and university began," said Ann Smothers, director of the Old Capitol Museum.

Cake and punch will be served at the reception on the west steps of the Old Capitol. The award-winning, student-produced film about the restoration, "Old Capitol, Restoration of a Landmark" will also be shown. The Old Capitol Gift Shop will be open where Margaret Keyes' book "Old Capitol--Portrait of an Iowa Landmark" is available for sale and other memorabilia including the prints of Steven Ford’s commissioned ink sketch of Old Capitol for this celebration.

Old Capitol's cornerstone was laid on July 4, 1840. It served first as the third site of the territorial capitol from 1842 until 1846, and as state capitol 1846 until 1857 when the seat of government moved to Des Moines. In that year, the building became the first permanent building of the University of Iowa, serving as a library, chapel, armory, and classrooms. Some 40,000 people tour Old Capitol every year and many university functions are held there. The Senate Chamber is a popular site for lectures, meetings and doctoral dissertation defenses; more than 1,800 events have been held there since 1976.

Over 750,000 people from every state in the U.S. and over 110 foreign countries have visited the Old Capitol since July 3, 1976, when the restoration was completed. It was included on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972 and recognized as a National Historic Landmark in 1976.

The Old Capitol remains open during a repair project of its exterior surfaces; hours are Mondays through Saturdays 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Sundays noon to 4 p.m. There is no charge for tours.

For more information, contact Ann Smothers at (319) 335-0548.

The University of Iowa prohibits discrimination in employment and in its educational programs and activities on the basis of race, national origin, color, creed, religion, sex, age, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or associational preference. The University also affirms its commitment to providing equal opportunities and equal access to University facilities. For additional information on nondiscrimination policies, contact the Coordinator of Title IX, Section 504, and the ADA in the Office of Affirmative Action, (319) 335-0705 (voice) and (319) 335-0697 (text), 202 Jessup Hall, The University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1316.