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Capitol dome restoration almost complete

courtesy photo

The dome, with its 110 gold and silver stars shining against a blue backdrop, rests many stories above the glass floor of the capitol rotunda.

It’s a hard-hat journey on the way up the scaffolding.

One of the first stops is a wall of paintings surrounding the rotunda. They're a nod to the muses from Greek mythology. Our guide-- assistant director for Capitol Facilities Barbra Thumudo, calls them “allegories.”

They represent themes like “justice”… “education”… and—one of her favorites to discuss—“commerce.”

As Thumudo points out, she’s smaller than the other paintings on the wall.

“Either someone here in Michigan relayed some very bad measurements to our artists in Boston. Or the artist, which I’m more inclined to think, just decided, ‘You’re going to get what I give you,’ knowing some artists myself.” :16

The renovation offered a chance to give the paintings, and surrounding items like a gold rim circling the rotunda or patterns painted onto the walls, some extra love.

Higher up we get our first view of the city. Windows reveal office buildings, tree-tops. There's also a door to the outside, marked with a "caution" sign, that this reporter did not try to open.

Up close you can see some of the smaller details and flaws hidden from the public floors at the capitol.

The blue of the oculus, the eye of the dome, received a new coat of matte paint.

Thumudo tells us one star needed re-work and holds up an example of the gold leaf used.

“I like to describe it a bit like butterfly wings. If I let go of this, it’s just going to flutter around. And it’s very hard actually, because it’s a bigger piece, it’s a little easier to grab, it’s already starting to tear away.” :13

A few seconds later, it’s floating in the sky thanks to the massive updraft in the building.

This view is only made possible through the dome restoration project that only occurs every few decades.

The scaffolding has been up since last summer. But it’s finally expected to come down next week.

The work done this time is expected to hold up around 40 years, meaning it’ll be awhile before someone gets a similar view again.

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