Restored Minnesota State Capitol reopens to public on Tuesday

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The Minnesota State Capitol will reopen to the public Tuesday after a three and a half year, $310 million restoration project.

Restoration crews have spent the past three years tearing apart the building and returning the luster that architect Cass Gilbert built into it in 1905.

Starting Tuesday, the public will finally have access to its government again. The entire Capitol building was off limits to the public during the last legislative session.

In a building that's supposed to hold no secrets, Minnesotans are about to discover hidden treasures.

"I think for the folks that haven't come here since their 6th grade tour of the Capitol, it's going to pop,” Curt Yoakum of the Department of Administration. “You know, it's the same art work that was here before, but it’s been restored and the colors are so vibrant and it's really going to pop."

In the basement, a former sealed hallway is now an expansive public gathering space. In fact the amount of public space has doubled to 40,000 square feet.

The old governor's dining room is now open to the public. Former Senate offices are now a House hearing room and an old Senate hearing room is now more open.

There were other beautiful discoveries as well, such as the vaulted ceiling and artwork in the pages’ room hidden for years by a drop ceiling.

In the Senate chambers, the painting of Moses shines. The House chambers are brighter and the newly-opened Senate chambers are restored to their original colors and luster.

Many parts of the capitol are stunning, including the restored rotunda, which is free of scaffolding for the first time in years. 

The state is planning a major grand opening ceremony in August when all of the work is complete.

Guided tours of the Capitol run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 1 to 3 p.m. on Sunday.