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Turner Hall receives $23,000 Legacy grant

For conservation, stabilization of murals

September 28, 2012
By Fritz Busch - Staff Writer , The Journal

NEW ULM - The Minnesota Historical Society (MHS) announced Thursday that Turner Hall is among 80 organizations in 37 counties that will receive 2012 Minnesota Historical and Cultural Heritage Grants.

Turner Hall, 102 S. State, listed in the National Register of Historic Places, will receive $23,140 to conserve and stabilize its historic, hand-painted murals on the walls of its Rathskeller.

The grant funds the first phase of a plan with treatment and conservation focusing on panels most at risk due to unstable plaster or paint. Work will include replacing damaged plaster, stabilizing other plaster, cleaning surfaces, removing layers of yellow varnish, and removing inappropriate repairs. The project will also include exterior grading for improved water drainage.

Article Photos

Staff photo by Fritz Busch
Turner Hall General Manager Virginia Suker Moldan views a mural in the Turner Hall Rathskeller on Thursday. The Minnesota Historical Society (MHS) recently announced Turner Hall will receive a $23,000 grant to conserve and stabilize its historic murals.

"The murals are one of New Ulm's greatest treasures, directly linking the community to its German heritage," said grant application writer Daniel Hoisington. "These 19th-century murals are nationally significant. Turner Hall is practicing good stewardship, beginning with a conservation plan, followed by careful implementation."

The Rathskeller has been in near constant use throughout the building's history, and it has been subject to the stresses of regular use and wear. It is likely the oldest continuously operated bar in Minnesota, according to Hoisington's news release.

The oldest portion of Turner Hall was built in 1873, making it the oldest Turner Hall in the United States still in its original use, according to a New Ulm Turner Hall Request for Proposals.

Other Historical and Cultural Heritage Grants were awarded to:

Sleepy Eye Area Foundation, $10,000 for historic Berg Hotel exterior renovation.

McLeod County Historical Society, more than $51,000 for artifact collection compressible shelving.

Redwood Falls Public Library, more than $12,000 for a digital reader system.

Renville County Historical Society, $45,000 to help inventory about 12,000 objects.

Watonwan County Historical Society, $3,000 to prepare a National Register of Historic Places nomination for the 1908 Warren Truss Bridge in Madelia Township.

Grants are made possible by the Legacy Amendment's Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund, which supports efforts to preserve Minnesota's land, water and legacy, including state history and cultural heritage.

(Fritz Busch can be e-mailed at



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