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With scaffolding up, William Penn statue restoration begins

Get a good look while you can

Scaffolding has gone up around the William Penn statue at City Hall in preparation for a restoration.
Photos by Melissa Romero

If you’re around City Hall today, you might notice that something different about the iconic William Penn statue.

Indeed, this week scaffolding has been installed around the bronze, 37-foot-tall Billy Penn, beginning the long-anticipated restoration process of the 125-year-old statue. The scaffolding installation will continue this week, followed by another five or so weeks of cleaning and restoration.

One of the biggest concerns that conservators have is corrosion. The city’s Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy (OACCE) explains:

The rate of corrosion has been increasing over time, and conservators have been working to develop a high-performing coating to help slow that increase. Due to the porosity of the original casting, corrosion products develop deep in the highly-pitted surface. This intrusion is of significant concern.

This will only be the fourth conservation treatment ever performed on the William Penn Statue, with the last three occurring in 1987, 1996, and 2007. It’s due time for another spruce up, with New Jersey-based Moorland Studios leading efforts for the fourth time.