The Art Institute of Chicago’s lions were removed early Tuesday morning for a scheduled treatment. It has been decades since the lions were last removed for maintenance, and according to a release by the Art Institute, is a necessary step to preserve the iconic figure. While removed from their post, the lions will be high-pressured steamed, checked for corrosion, and given a hot wax treatment.
The sculptures were cast in 1893 by Edward Kemeys according to the Art Institute, they “require expert care to preserve them for generations to come.” The lions were reportedly carted off to a conservator in Forest Park. A crane was used to hoist the metal felines from their posts and they were loaded onto a flatbed truck.
According to the Art Institute, the lions should be reinstalled in mid-July. Though in good condition, they have been outside for 128 years. The last time the lions were removed for maintenance was back in 2001. Although they will be cleaner, their appearance is expected to not change much, and the lions will still sport their green hue.