Milligan celebrates completion of office’s historic restoration

The Arkansas Treasurer’s office in the State Capitol reopened to the public Monday following a historical restoration project that had closed its Capitol suite since 2019. Treasurer Dennis Milligan held a grand reopening ceremony to welcome visitors back.

LITTLE ROCK — Arkansas Treasurer Dennis Milligan officially reopened the Treasury suite in the State Capitol on Monday, following a historical restoration effort to return the office to its original 1912 appearance.

“What a great day in Arkansas history,” Milligan said. “This restoration effort – made possible by the Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council – has been a labor of love for the thousands of visitors who come through our office each year, and I think you’re going to like what you see.”

The Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council (ANCRC) granted the Treasurer’s Office two grants in fiscal years 2020 and 2021 that totaled $1.65 million. The grants were awarded to restore the public spaces of the Treasury to their original look. That included raising ceilings that had been lowered during previous administrations, fixing cracked marble, updating the 108-year-old vault and restoring the paint scheme to its original colors.

“Aside from public hallways and the House and Senate chambers, the Treasury is the only other space within the Capitol that has marble used extensively,” Milligan said. “Prior to this effort, the marble hadn’t been touched since its original installation in the 1900s.

“Additionally, the teller stations had been altered over the years to narrow the amount of space that could be used for housing large tour groups. Since we’re one of the most toured offices in the Capitol – with around 23,000 visitors annually – we wanted to be able to offer the public a larger space to be able to enjoy as they wait to tour the historic vault.”

The State Capitol is on the National Register of Historic Places, so restoring it and keeping its rich history alive is important, said Stacy Hurst, Secretary of the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism.

“The Arkansas State Capitol is such an architectural treasure,” said Hurst, who is also state historic preservation officer and secretary of the Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council. “The Treasurer and his staff have done a wonderful job restoring the offices to reflect the importance of this National Register-listed building.”

Milligan held a grand reopening ceremony and ribbon cutting in the Capitol Rotunda on Monday, then led the first official tour of the newly-restored office.

“I always want to leave things better than I found them,” Milligan said, “so my hope is that by restoring this office, we’ve preserved a piece of history that will be able to be enjoyed for many generations to come.”

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