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Springfield Museums Wins Grant to Restore Stained-glass Windows

SPRINGFIELD — The Springfield Museums have been awarded a Museums for America grant of $106,592 from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to restore and stabilize 20 Tiffany stained-glass windows at the George Walter Vincent Smith Art Museum. These grants are awarded through competitive peer review and require at least a 100% match by the applicant. The program is an essential component of the institute’s goal of sustaining cultural heritage.

The 20 Tiffany stained-glass windows are original to the main façade of the historic George Walter Vincent Smith Art Museum, which opened in 1896. The windows have deteriorated because of age, city pollution, and the harsh New England weather. This project includes a provision to protect the windows and their restoration through the addition of exterior tempered glass. The restoration of the Tiffany stained-glass windows will reintegrate these important decorative features with the building as well as greatly increase the effectiveness of the museum’s environmental control system.

“These windows are rare and highly significant,” said Kay Simpson, president of the Springfield Museums. “They are the only Tiffany stained-glass windows in existence that were specifically commissioned for an American art museum, and they are a critical element of the overall design of the 1896 museum building. We are grateful to the IMLS for providing us with funding to stabilize and preserve these important stained-glass treasures for future generations.”

Added U.S. Rep. Richard Neal, “the Quadrangle represents the cultural center of the city of Springfield, and the George Walter Vincent Smith Art Museum is one of its most celebrated institutions. For more than 100 years, the museum has been home to some of the most rare, eclectic, and pre-eminent collections in New England. Thousands of people visit each year to enjoy works ranging from Japanese armor to 19th-century Italian watercolors. But one of the museum’s most important and iconic artifacts has been its original Tiffany stained-glass windows. The last of their kind in the United States, these extraordinary windows are being restored with the help of the Institute of Museum and Library Services. As a supporter of the arts, I take great pride in the Springfield Museums and believe we have a responsibility to preserve them for future generations. And this window-restoration program demonstrates that commitment.”

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno said he is “very appreciative and thankful to all involved for securing this grant. We are very fortunate for a city our size to have such a well-respected museum complex that not only continues to enlighten our past, but also our future too.”

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