Restoring the Thomas Francis Meagher Statue

The statue of Thomas Francis Meagher with sword in hand astride a horse that is the signature piece of art on the front lawn of the Montana State Capitol will be restored thanks to the division of the Ancient Order of Hibernians that bear his name.

The Meagher Division raised $9,000 for the restoration of the statue, which will be matched by a like amount from the specific funds dedicated to caring for artwork on the Capitol grounds, which is the responsibility of the Montana Historical Society.

“We are thankful to the Meagher Division for their work in raising these funds,? Society Director Arnold Olsen said. “We work as hard as we can to maximize the funds that are available to us as guardians of the state’s history and heritage, and we work with the private sector whenever we can to help get the job done.?

Pete McHugh of Helena, who was in charge of the fundraising project for the Meagher Division, said its success was a tribute to people who take pride in Montana’s past.

“We got the job done, and the Helena community really stepped forward on it,? McHugh said. “We also got support from places like Anaconda, Butte and White Sulphur Springs, as well as from people outside of Montana who wanted to help out on the project. This is the kind of thing that makes you feel good about being a Montanan.?

Olsen said that preliminary assessment of the statue, cleaning, and application of protective wax coating were done this summer. In the careful inspection, it was discovered that several pieces of the statue were missing or severely damaged and those are being researched and recreated, with completion of the project set for early next summer.

McHugh said one of the reasons the Hibernians stepped forward to take on the project was to get the statue restored for next year’s commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the dedication of the Meagher statue.

“We are going to have a big celebration with lots of events on July 5th next summer that we think will bring thousands of Montanans and people from Ireland and other places across the world here to honor Meagher and Montana,? McHugh said.

Meagher led a remarkable life as a leader of the Irish insurrection for which he was deported from the country, a general in the American Civil War, as an orator, and as acting Territorial Governor of Montana.

Posted by on 10/27 at 02:40 PM






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