SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WAND) - After a $1.6 million renovation, the Old State Capitol is new and improved.
Illinois Department of Natural Resources Superintendent of Historic Sites in Springfield Justin Blandford said the work done over the last eight months was necessary.
"After many years of water penetration through the flooring in the dome and the drum, we were able to come in and actually erect scaffolding all the way up the side of the building that enabled us to wrap the dome and the drum in scaffolding and then remove that flooring, treat the columns (and) repair the windows," Blandford said.
The renovations were funded by the Restore Illinois Plan and help bring the historic site into the future.
"It's not just a historic building," Blandford said. "It's also part of the community, part of the state and a really, really important place where modern things are happening that impact the world around us."
The main changes you will see involve the dome and ceiling, however, there is also a new education gallery and video room. All of the repairs and new additions, Blandford said, will allow visitors to better understand the history and importance of the building.
"The building is really important to understanding what freedom means to us today, what citizenship means to us today," he said. "Not only did Abraham Lincoln work here, but people like Frederick Douglas and John Jones. Many individuals came in here and fought and debated about what it means to be free, not only just in Illinois, but in our country as a whole."
The finishing touches on the dome will be complete by the end of 2021.
Guests are now able to come visit the Old State Capitol and see the new renovations for free daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Reservations are not required, but officials ask you wear a mask when walking around.