The angels Michael and Gabriel that soar above the museum today are exact duplicates of the originals, which were carved by Louis Jobin from Québec in 1908-09. These originals stand seven feet tall to the tip of the wings and are made of wood, covered with hammered tin and lead. Holding trumpets, they sound northward. For close to eighty years they graced the skyline, but in 1985 they were both removed for duplication because one was in imminent danger of falling. The originals are now part of the museum’s collection.
It would take fifteen years to make duplicates of the angels and return them to their home. Molds were created of the original sculptures using clay and then casts were made with polymer cement. Weighing over 1,500 pounds each, they proved too heavy for the wooden cupolas. By 1999, additional funds were raised to use lighter materials of fiberglass and epoxy instead. Careful study was made to use weatherproof materials that would also fuse permanently with the painted surface. For additional support and to ensure a strong perch on top of the towers, stainless steel understructure runs within the sculptures. Linking into the wings and trumpet, the understructure runs below the base by eight feet to anchor into the central beam of each cupola.
Once the long process of re-casting was complete, the angels were placed on the domes on a windless day in September 2000. It took an 80-foot lift to get the work done. The angels were painted with an elastomeric gold paint, which acts as an insulator from lightening. The metal surface of the domes were wired brushed to remove all rust, after which a rust inhibitive primer was applied followed by two coats of yellow primer and two coats of the transparent gold top paint. Over 20 gallons of primer and 16 gallons of the final coat were used.
Funders and Supporters
- Maine Community Foundation (Expansion Arts Fund)
- Maine Acadian Heritage Council
- Albert and Anne (Dionne) Cyr
- Don Cyr
- Fraser Papers
- Terry Helms
- In memory of Denis and Sophie (Doucette) Morneault
- In memory of Edward and Edgar Paradis
- Noel and Blanche Corbin Parent
- Boyd W. Pryor
- Audrey and Larry Thibodeau
- Glenn Hines (molds and casts in polymer cement)
- Terry Helms (assistance with sculptures, installation, painting)
- Norman Cyr (steel supports)
- Eric Joseph (molds and casts in epoxy and fiberglass)
- Marius Levesque (crane work)
- Don Cyr