Missing: 800 pieces of furniture from the Minnesota State Capitol.
If you know where any of it is, the Cass Gilbert Society wants to hear from you. They don’t want it returned. They just want to know if it has found a good home.
Somehow, over the decades, about half of the furniture — some 800 pieces — that originally furnished the Capitol when it was opened in 1905, have gone missing.
The Minnesota-based nonprofit dedicated to the architect who designed the State Capitol wants to tell the story of the furniture created or selected by the Cass Gilbert to furnish the building.
Natalie Heneghan, project manager of the Cass Gilbert Society, said the original furnishings — chairs, light fixtures, decorative metalwork — have gone AWOL over the decades as people who have worked at the Capitol have taken things home or objects were sold at auction.
Heneghan said in the past, legislators leaving office might have been allowed to purchase their furniture when renovations were being made.
By the time an inventory was done in 1989, only about 800 of the approximately 1,600 original pieces of furniture at the Capitol were located.
The rest might be in an attic or in an antique store someplace.
In addition to the stories of where the furniture ended up, the society also is seeking information on architectural fragments, photographs and light fixtures from the original building.
The society wants to document where those pieces are now in a sort of a virtual museum exhibit on their website, cassgilbertsociety.org.
“We want to know the story. We want to know how it’s been used, who’s sat in it,” Heneghan said of the missing furniture.
Anyone with information about the Capitol furnishings should contact Heneghan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The project, which runs through the end of 2017, is being financed with funds provided by the state’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund through the Minnesota Historical Society.