NEW PALESTINE — The large image of an eagle on the side of the New Palestine History Museum was faded, chipped and in dire need of restoration — until a group of high school students stepped up to take on a project.

New Palestine officials said the painting of an eagle has been on the building since the U.S. Bicentennial in 1976.

While the mural has been touched up a time or two since it was originally done, it had been decades since the eagle emblem was properly repainted, officials said.

Members of the New Palestine High School National Art Honor Society, led by art teacher Clyde Gaw, decided to undertake the project, which included scraping off the old paint, without harming 125-year-old bricks on the side of the building, and adding a fresh coat of colors.

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The project was quite an undertaking for the student artists, art honor society vice president Gage Jackson said.

“I’ve never done something this big before,” Jackson said. “I’ve obviously noticed it, and it has always looked old to me, so I’m glad to be a part of repairing it, making it look newer.”

Gaw said he was excited to take on the project because it gave his top art students a chance to show off their talents to people who might not normally see their work.

“Literally thousands of people drive by this every day,” Gaw said. “This is a wonderful extracurricular project because it is connected to the town and in some ways is the town symbol of our community.”

Gaw, who painted houses on the north side of Indianapolis to pay his way through college, said he knew what they were getting themselves into with the project but he was certain his students would do a good job.

Town manager Dave Book proposed the students take on the project late last year, and several months later Gaw and his students fit the effort into their schedule.

The supplies to get the job done, at the cost of $300, were donated by New Palestine Hardware, 50 W. Main St.

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Kristy Deer is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3262 or