Basilica Interior Moisture Testing
(b) Statewide Historic and Cultural Grants. (i) $2,250,000 in 2010 and $4,500,000 in 2011 are appropriated for history programs and projects operated or conducted by or through local, county, regional or other historical or cultural organizations; or for activities to preserve significant historic and cultural resources. Funds are to be distributed through a competitive grants process. The Minnesota Historical Society shall administer these funds using established grants mechanisms, and with assistance from the advisory committee created herein.
Thirty monitors were installed to measure moisture readings in the upper reaches of the Basilica of St. Mary. Restoration projects had been put on hold due to previous water infiltration and the damage that was caused by saturation of masonry walls and ceiling plaster. Such infiltration takes a long time to dry. There were concerns that plaster was continuing to absorb moisture from the attic insulation or the masonry walls.
A lift was used to visually inspect and manually "sound" ceiling plaster on three representative arches where they meet the exterior wall. The monitoring sensors were then installed on the ceiling and in the attic. The results from the first readings confirm that the masonry walls are drying out. Restoration projects can resume.