ROCHESTER, Minn. – In 1966, a mosaic mural was installed and then dedicated in Mayo Clinic’s Methodist Hospital.
It was on display for many years, but when the lobby had to be remodeled, a protective wall was built around the artwork to preserve it and it hasn’t been seen in years.
Now, 50 years later, part of that mural is being uncovered. The director of Heritage Hall, the Museum at Mayo Clinic, Matthew Dacy says it was uncovered to celebrate the 50th anniversary of it first being dedicated.
Dacy explains they cut a square section into the protective wall and raised the ceiling to reveal the full height of the mural. As it happens, the section they cut revealed a perfect section of the mosaic.
“We always knew the mosaic was behind this protective wall but we weren’t sure exactly of the orientation — there’s been a lot of remodeling here over the years, the pharmacy, the gift shop,” Dacy explains. “So when we peeled back the wallpaper and cut the hole, we weren’t sure what we were going to find, but this figure was framed exactly like in a doorway just waiting to come out to us, and that’s a sign, it was meant to be.”
The mosaic was a gift to the hospital and its patients by the Hospital Auxiliary, now called the Mayo Clinic Volunteers, Methodist Campus.
“This is marble from the Italian Alps, the same place that Michelangelo quarried his marble for the works of art that are famous all over the world. There’s Venetian glass, gold leaf, we are told by the early documents that more than 1 million pieces of marble are hand-assembled into this design,” adds Dacy.
The newly uncovered section is just a small part of the entire mural, as seen in the photo below. Dacy says there’s always a possibility that future remodeling will lead to more of the mosaic being revealed. But until then, it can be enjoyed by a brand new generation of patients.
“Think about their intentions of generosity 50 year ago, they dedicated this, The Auxiliary to give back to our patients. How much has changed in medicine in 50 years? And yet a new generation of patients can see this today,” Dacy adds.