Alma Universitatis Mater
The famous sculptor Lorado Taft was the son of a professor of geology at the University of Illinois. While not born in Urbana, he certainly felt a great affection for the city, as he endowed it with two sculptures: Lincoln the Lawyer, currently in a park across the street from Urbana High School, and Alma Mater for the University.
In 2012 it was decided to transport the statue to a conservation firm in Chicago for restoration and cleaning. Alma was supposed to be back in May 2013, but the initial investigation found much greater damage than supposed, delaying her return until April 9 of this year.
For some reason, a few workmen had to jump up and down on the pedestal to align the restored statue. I’m not sure what good that did, but they seemed to be having fun.
As part of the cleaning, a sealant was applied that will prevent re-formation of the green patina. I’m of two minds on this: on the one hand, she looks better in this state, but she stood out more from her surroundings when patina-ed.
Alma, tell us,
All modern statues are jealous:
Which of your magical wands
Got you cleaned to your fine burnished bronze?
— From an idea by my friend Bill Busen, with apologies to Tom Lehrer