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Mission mural restoration wraps up for the season

Posted at 5:08 PM, Nov 21, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-21 19:08:33-05

ST. IGNATIUS — There's still another summer of disruption ahead.

However, the second season of restoration at the historic St. Ignatius Mission is not only a success, but is revealing little known facts about the iconic location.

The multi-year effort to save the 58 murals painted over a century ago on the walls and ceilings of the historic church just passed the half-way point -- and it is a massive undertaking.

Last week, Custom Plaster of Boise finished months of meticulous work in this second year of the project, removing the scaffolding that has been at the head of the chapel throughout the summer and fall.

What they've been able to accomplish is nothing short of miraculous. In some cases, the primary murals above the alter had sagged as much as two feet away from the wall.

Using a careful process, the plaster has been lifted back in place, with careful touchup and cleaning to show the colorful depictions of the various Gospel stories.

"They're workers, but they're really artists. It's just incredible the amount of stuff they can do. The talent," Father C, Hightower said.

"The way they can bring back plaster, alive again, and restore a building that's 125-plus years old to what it was when it was originally painted."

Along the way, clues to the past have been discovered, such as the bison hair mixed with the plaster for strength.

A third year of restoration is planned next year and will focus on the Gospel "medallions" that line the highest part of the building.