Dan Mattausch: Bringing More Light to Historic Treasures

The 1985 alumnus restores the historic lighting in a U.S. president's home and elsewhere

Dan Mattausch

By Clint Kelly [ckelly@spu.edu]

Photo courtesy of Dan Mattausch


We catch up with Dan Mattausch ’85 putting the finishing touches on a lighting restoration at the home of President Rutherford B. Hayes in Fremont, Ohio. The American authority on historic lighting, Mattausch has a particular affinity for the gaslight era and has answered the call to bring historic accuracy to period movie, TV, and museum lighting displays.

Mattausch will “neither confirm nor deny” that his work this past year took him to the chambers of the Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court or to Blair House (where President-elect Obama stayed prior to inauguration). He will say that the poet laureate of the United States has the most inspiring view in Washington, with a third floor office in the original Library of Congress (LOC) building that looks over the Capitol and down the mall.

“We restored some neo-classical candelabrum for the LOC,” Mattausch says, “and the view from that office beats anything the president has at the White House!”

Mattausch, owner of the Gas Light Gallery in Washington, D.C., says his most significant current project is working with the lighting collection at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History. “From a technical standpoint, it is by far the best collection in the country and it hasn’t been on public display for about 80 years. My long-term goal is to get some of it up on the web so it is accessible to researchers and collectors.”


Upon reflection, he says, “I still can’t believe they pay me to do this.” Quickly, he adds, “Perhaps I shouldn’t let that secret out.”
Response now invites you to meet Dan Mattausch in the magazine's original article about his amazing work.



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