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CONSERVATION MAINTENANCE OF WILLIAM PENN ATOP CITY HALL COMPLETED!
(Philadelphia) –The City of Philadelphia and the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia announce the completion of the conservation of Alexander Milne Calder’s William Penn sculpture atop City Hall. The sculpture was last treated in 1996, and was initially restored in 1986 through a “Free William Penn” fundraising campaign. After the initial restoration, excess donations were placed in a maintenance fund still held and administered by the Preservation Alliance.
The colossal William Penn was installed in 1894 and is the most widely recognized symbol of the city for Philadelphians and visitors alike. Standing more than 36 feet tall and weighing over 53,000 pounds, it is the largest sculpture ever to be cast in bronze. It was originally hoisted in thirteen sections by sixteen workmen to its place atop City Hall tower 548 feet above street level.
The Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia in cooperation with the City of Philadelphia’s Department of Public Property retained Moorland Studios of Stockton, NJ, the firm that performed the initial restoration and the last maintenance treatment, to undertake this current tenth-year maintenance cycle. Moorland Studios is also contracted to make annual inspections of the statue.
William Penn was gently cleaned with water and a specialized detergent and the entirely of its surface will be carefully inspected and documented to identify any new surface conditions that may have arisen since its last treatment in 1996. The bronze was coated with a special formulation of wax which will protect the bronze surface from the elements and which is designed for the unique requirements of this project.
Maintenance of the sculpture began on September 4th, 2007, after the assembly of supporting scaffolding above the City Hall Tower observation deck in late August. The project was completed at the end of October.