BONHAM — A 1920s-era chandelier has been restored to its former glory and has been re-hung in the foyer of the Sam Rayburn Museum as part of a larger conservation effort.

BONHAM — A 1920s-era chandelier has been restored to its former glory and has been re-hung in the foyer of the Sam Rayburn Museum as part of a larger conservation effort.


The Museum contains exhibits focusing on the career of former Speaker of the House Sam Rayburn and his relationship with the eight presidents he served under, said museum research assistant Emily Trent. It is not to be confused with the Sam Rayburn House Museum, also located in Bonham. Both museums are divisions of the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History at the University of Texas at Austin.


All decorations are original to when the museum first opened in 1957, Trent said. Museum architect Roscoe DeWitt found the chandelier at an antique store and believed it would "match the grandeur of the room’s black marble walls but would not compete with the chandelier in the replica Speaker’s Office," said Executive Director of the Briscoe Center Don Carleton in a written release.


Museum staff removed the chandelier in August of last year and took it to van Enter studio in Dallas for repair and restoration.


"Over time, one of the chandelier’s arms had cracked, and the silver plating had worn away, leaving a dull patina," the release said. "Conservators at van Enter Studio disassembled the chandelier, cleaned and replated the individual pieces, replaced the broken arm, and rewired the entire piece. In addition, they applied lacquer to the silver-plated components to insure a long-lasting polished appearance."


The project was mostly funded by the Friends of Sam Rayburn, a group of donors who support Bonham’s two Rayburn Museums and a public service scholarship at Texas A&M University at Commerce.


The restoration of the chandelier is the first of many projects planned in a conservation effort, Trent said. There are also plans to restore another of the museum’s chandeliers, as well as paintings and portraits.


The last major renovation of the museum occurred in 2012, said Briscoe Center Public Affairs Officer Ben Wright, when the museum was "re-imagined for the 21st century viewer" and a digital touch-screen archive explorer was added.