City Hall’s ‘Billy Penn’ Statute Gets Needed Cleaning

The iconic statue above Philadelphia's City Hall is getting a needed cleaning and that means that "Billy Penn" will be surrounded by scaffolding.

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Philadelphia’s iconic bronze statue of Pennsylvania founder William Penn atop Philadelphia’s City Hall is getting a makeover.
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Conservationists will spend the next four to five weeks working on Philadelphia’s largest statue – the 37-foot, 53,000-pound statue that sits 500 feet above City Hall.
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Scaffolding first went up around Alexander Milne Calder’s 125-year-old masterpiece earlier in May and work began on the statue the week of May 15, the city Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy said.
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“The William Penn statue has endured as a symbol of Philadelphia since its installation in 1892. Conserving this monumental statue, and having the opportunity to view the astounding level of detail in Calder’s work, is an extraordinary experience,” said Margot Berg, public art director of the OACCE.
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The statue – cast in Northeast Philadelphia – needs a cleaning once a decade and was last cleaned in 2007, the OACCE said.
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"Philadelphia’s public art collection – the oldest and the largest in the nation – helps to define our city’s identity and is one of our greatest assets," Berg said. "We are fortunate to be stewards of such extraordinary works of art as William Penn and so many others."
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Moorland Studios of Stockton, New Jersey will perform the maintenance on Bill Penn including cleaning the “pitted” surface with a non-ionic detergent, using lasers to remove corrosion and applying a new wax coating.
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“The conservation of the 125-year-old William Penn statue is historic,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “The sculpture is known all over the world as a symbol of Philadelphia, so l am excited that this process will ensure that future generations will be able to be as awed by it as I am.”
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No word if the spring cleaning will help alleviate that so-called "Curse of Billy Penn"
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