A renovation led to an outstanding discovery at the University of Virginia.
Workers engaged in a renovation process at the University of Virginia rotunda were taken by surprise when they made a great discovery behind a wall. They brought out to light a classroom and a laboratory.
“I was laying on my back looking up inside this little space. I saw that there was a piece of cut stone which is very unusual to have in this location,” declared Schiedt, the project manager that oversees the renovation at the university.
The discovery is of major historical significance, as the officials from the University of Virginia declared that most probably the lab’s design was the outcome of a collaboration between Thomas Jefferson and John Emmet, the school’s first natural history professor. The room was locked in 1840.
It is believed that the room was closed in 1840, when the chemistry facilities were placed in a different wing of the building.
The room was equipped with fireboxes, air tunnels and workstations for pupils. In April 1823, Jefferson wrote that some experiments cannot take place in normal lecturing rooms.
This lab is the only one left from its time, thing which increases its historical importance.
The newly found lab is a clear evidence of the fact that chemistry was studied a long time ago in the country. Just like a nowadays lab, it contained heat sources and ventilation in order to get rid of fumes.
Mark Kutney, a member of the Office of the Architect for the University, believes that original parts should be kept in unaltered condition by workers.
After the renovations of the Rotunda will be completed in 2016, the public will have access to a full display of the laboratory behind a barrier.
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