A $1.5-million house decorative panel from the late 1950s was restored for the first time in more than two decades, as part of a $5-millennium restoration effort funded by the National Park Service and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The project, which includes restoration of original furnishings, was completed in March and the panel was delivered to the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C. The National Park Foundation is also donating $2 million toward the restoration.
The restoration includes a complete panel of four original stained-glass windows.
The new panels were purchased in 2008 by the San Diego Historical Society and were displayed on its site at the San Jose Museum of Art.
“They were pretty cool looking panels,” said David Kuehne, the museum’s curator of architectural history.
“We had them in our collection for a while.”
Kuehene said the restoration was a collaboration between the San José Historical Society, the National Parks Service and San Diego State University.
“It was a very collaborative effort,” he said.
The panel was donated to the museum by the University of California at San Diego, which purchased the panels from a private donor and was responsible for restoration.
“The San Jose Historical Society is proud to be the first to restore this iconic historic piece of American architecture to its former glory,” said Robert Schubert, president of the University.
The panels are located in the San Joaquin Valley Museum and Historic Center in the city’s historic San Joacim neighborhood.
Kuehenne said they were made of an original cast of glass, which the National Architectural Association (NAA) says was produced between the 1860s and 1930s.
The glass panels were originally used for window decoration in the 1880s.
“When you look at the old stained glass windows, they’re so pretty, you can’t help but think about what they looked like before the glass was used,” he told the San Francisco Chronicle.
“So, I thought, what if I were to use a glass window as a decoration for the panel?”
The National Museum and Art Museum in Washington is donating $500,000 toward the project.
“I have never seen anything like this in the National Mall, and I’ve never seen a window like this,” said museum spokesman Robert A. Miller.
The San Francisco-based museum also donated $1 million toward a project to restore and display more than 1,000 pieces of U.N. cultural artifacts in the historic U. S. Capitol complex.