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straus_woodworkThe Milton shield, surrounded by intricately carved wood panels, marks the front and back pediments of Straus Library. This Georgian structure housed the School’s library from 1929 to 1971; it now serves the college counseling office and is a beloved gathering space for formal and informal events. Although the front panel of Straus was attended to over the years, work on the panel facing the Quad had been deferred. This summer, Milton’s facilities department set out to restore and conserve this piece of Milton’s history.

After graduation, a rigorous de-leading process began immediately led by Beacon Hill Restoration. A master wood carver, affiliated with the famous North Bennett Street School, is carving replacement pieces for sections that had crumbled or fallen away. Denis Semprebon, owner of Beacon Hill Restoration, hired two Bennett School student-interns to assist with the meticulous restoration process, including delicate sanding and painting. Workers discovered that the shield’s lettering was originally done in gold leaf; that finding led to the decision to use the material again, as gold leaf is a natural and dependable protectant. The restoration will be complete before students return in September—one of many summer projects to enhance and preserve our campus.