Birch Bayh Industry Sculpture Receives Arm Transplant
June 6, 2013
As part of the recently completed Recovery Act project at the Birch Bayh U.S. Courthouse in Indianapolis, the sculpture titled Industry, created in 1906 by artist John Massey Rhind, received a new limestone arm, a nearly flawless match to the original arm broken off years ago.
All four of Rhind's sculptures flanking the entrances to the courthouse were refurbished as part of a major undertaking to conserve the courthouse's entire fine arts collection (see photo gallery).
The refurbished works include murals in the William E. Steckler Ceremonial Courtroom and Grant Christian murals from the Works Progress Administration (WPA) era in the third floor corridor.
Five conservationists worked four months on the restorations.
The murals required extensive treatment to remove years of smoke and grime that had given them a dark, yellowed appearance.
Rhind's exterior limestone sculptures – Agriculture, Industry, Justice, and Literature – required cleaning, re-pointing, and sealing.
The most notable repair was the restoration of Industry's broken arm. A master stone carver created a mortar replacement arm, providing a nearly flawless match.