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Nebraska ‘shovel-ready’ funds help give a lift to art deco ceilings at historic Union Station

By: - January 11, 2023 4:52 pm

EverGreene Architectural Arts worker shown here during earlier phase of art deco restoration at historic Union Station, home of Omaha’s Durham Museum. Final phase is now beginning.(Courtesy of Durham Museum)

OMAHA — Launching this week is the final phase of a $1.6 million restoration of art deco ceilings at downtown Omaha’s Durham Museum housed in the historic Union Station.

Visitors look at art deco ceilings that are to be restored at Durham Museum in the historic Union Station. (Courtesy of Durham Museum)

Boosted by a grant from the Nebraska Shovel-Ready Capital Recovery & Investment Act, the project was interrupted by the pandemic. It was restarted later in a different section of the museum, and now the crew of New York-based EverGreene Architectural Arts has returned for the final stretch.

The latest phase takes place in the West End Corridor and the Suzanne and Walter Scott Great Hall. Work is expected to be wrapped up by June. The museum is to remain open during the effort, though some entrances and walkways will change during that time.

Funding for the art deco interior revitalization project came from private community sources and a $625,000 shovel-ready grant through the Nebraska Department of Economic Development, a Durham spokeswoman said.

A separate funding project recently restored the exterior of the former train station.

Union Station, built in 1931, served as a train station for 40 years and as a museum thereafter, housing exhibits that preserve Omaha’s history. In late 2016, the U.S. Department of Interior formally designated Union Station a national historic landmark, which heightened attention to protecting the structure.

Durham Museum's Great Hall
The Durham Museum Great Hall, with art deco ceilings that are being restored. (Courtesy of Durham Museum)

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Cindy Gonzalez
Cindy Gonzalez

Senior Reporter Cindy Gonzalez, an Omaha native, has more than 35 years of experience, largely at the Omaha World-Herald. Her coverage areas have included business and real estate development; regional reporting; immigration, demographics and diverse communities; and City Hall and local politics. She has won awards from organizations including Great Plains Journalism, the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing (SABEW) and the Associated Press. Cindy has been recognized by various nonprofits for community contributions and diversity efforts. She chairs the board that oversees the local university’s student newspaper.

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