Renovation and restoration of the Baroque reading room, 2001-2002
No matter how carefully our predecessors took care of and preserved the library, following its two-hundred-year old life, the library was in need of some renovation and restoration work. The most visible changes were the mechanical adjustments that took place in the 20th century (electrification, heating system, and later fire alarms and safety systems were installed). Due to the lack of adequate financial resources and a comprehensive concept, the authenticity and artistic value of the room was in some cases overlooked. The wooden interior including the shelves and their decorations were also damaged primarily during the alterations in the 20th century. A lacquer coat was painted on the wooden surfaces as a result of which the wood was not exposed to air (thus preventing the natural movement of wood).
The renovation was scheduled for the thousand-year-anniversary of the foundation of the Archdiocese (in 2001-2002). Planning of the restoration started at the end of 1999. The renovation work had two main parts according to the damages mentioned above: mechanical renovation and wood restoration. These two work areas were united in a well-designed concept. The aim was to restore the authenticity of the room with as little visible mechanical changes as possible, or if not possible, the changes should be clearly indicated. Restoration work began in September 2001. New electrical equipments were installed ensuring the long-lasting application of the modern devices. The decorative paint and the wood furnishings of the room was renewed. Removal of the library books was executed following the necessary preservation requirements. Due to the restoration works, the library of Archbishop Ádám Patachich shines in its original glory. "Shines" might be an unusual term to describe a library but in our library, looking at the gilded volumes, it seems appropriate to use this word. It's no surprise that the room used to be called the "golden room".
The opening ceremony of the restored library took place on the 15th August 2002 and the library was opened by Dr Ferenc Mádl, then president of Hungary, and by Dr Balázs Bábel, Archbishop of Kalocsa-Kecskemét.
Restoration work by:
Master planning: Conservator Walter Madarassy and architect Ervin Vass-Eysen (Építészműhely Kft.)
Mechanical work: Building contractor Gábor Tiszavölgyi, Komplex
Decorative painting: György Gajda
Wood restoration:. Conservator Walter Madarassy jr.
Each phase of the work and the planning was funded by the Ministry of National Cultural Heritage.
Removing the collection of 20,000 volumes took a lot of organising and hard work.
The room during the renovation of the decorative painting
After the work of the wood conservators, the furniture and books were returned to the room
The restored library room and the library exhibition on the corridor before the opening
Then President Dr Ferenc Mádl and Archbishop Dr Balázs Bábel at the opening ceremony
College of Bishops at the opening ceremony