November 20, 2001

At 8:30 a.m., contractors started an accidental fire in the cupola of the Old Capitol Building while using a heat gun during renovations to the structure. The blaze destroyed the cupola, dome, and bell but was contained by a firewall built during the 1920s restoration of the building. The fire and the tens of thousands of gallons of water used to extinguish it caused smoke and water damage throughout the building and to some of the furniture and other collection items. Fortunately, none of these items were damaged beyond repair. The Old Capitol would undergo four and a half years of repairs and renovations before reopening to the public.