Museum working to restore soldier statue

A soldier statue was erected by Grand Army of the Republic at Shields Park in Seymour in September 1890.

There were statues just like it all over America, some in Union towns and some in Confederate. They are made of zinc panels soldered together and then painted to look like bronze.

Later, the one in Seymour was painted blue to represent the Union. The story of it being vandalized has been well told.

Recently, the city wanted it removed from storage in a building, and it was brought it to the Seymour Museum Center in the downtown.

A picture of the statue, which is missing the head and left hand, was posted on the museum’s Facebook page, and it has received more than 600 comments.

“When I started looking for a way to get it restored, I found there are two places that will work on them: One, McKay near Cleveland and another company in Brooklyn, New York,” museum board member Ruth Ann Rebber said. “The one in New York started with a rough bid of $100,000 and the one in Ohio of $60,000.”

She has been working with the Ohio firm.

“They recently completed a complete restoration and reproduction of the exact same statue for a GAR museum in Aurora, Illinois,” she said. “Their statue had been on the top of their building since the late 1800s and completely fell apart. They sent their pieces to Ohio, where they were all recast. The company then rebuilt the original statue for over $30,000, and they had a completely new statue caste from the molds out of bronze for a cost of over $60,000.”

The old one will be on display inside the Aurora museum and the new one put on the top of the building, Rebber said.

The $60,000 rough estimate for the Seymour statue includes McKay going to Aurora and getting the molds of the pieces they need to restore it and then coming to Seymour and taking the statue to Ohio.

“They will recast the missing pieces, reassemble and restore our statue and then return it to us. They will then take the molds back to Illinois,” Rebber said. “The cost may be more once they see our statue, but $60,000 is the starting cost.”

Museum board President Lenny Hauersperger said grant money may be needed to restore the statue. Anyone interested in donating money toward the project may call Hauersperger at 812-530-9272.