Coburn Hall Renovation Features Restoration of Rediscovered Mural and Modern Additions

Coburn Hall renovation 2020
Coburn Hall, the oldest building on campus, has been renovated as part of UMass Lowell's 125th anniversary.


Contacts for media: Nancy Cicco, 978-934-4944, and Christine Gillette, 978-934-2209 or


WHEN: Friday, Jan. 10, 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.

WHERE: Coburn Hall, 850 Broadway St., Lowell. Contact UMass Lowell media relations for directions and parking information.

WHAT: As part of UMass Lowell’s 125th anniversary, the university’s oldest building has undergone an extensive renovation that includes the addition of modern new features and the restoration of a 64-foot mural that had been covered for decades.

University representatives leading the project and the art expert restoring the mural will participate in a tour of the building for the press that will include a look at the mural and unique architectural features retained during the renovation, as well as the new, modern features added to the building to enhance students’ academic experience, including new classrooms and a makerspace.

Coburn Hall, which dates back to the 1890s, was constructed as the home of the Lowell Normal School, founded to train teachers for the growing city during the American Industrial Revolution. For many years, it was the only building on what is now UMass Lowell’s bustling South Campus and it has been home to numerous academic departments.

With more than a year of renovations nearly complete, Coburn Hall will once again be home to the university’s College of Education, along with the Department of Psychology and research space for work in fields including autism education. With the renovations to the 50,000-square-foot building and the addition of 14,000 square feet, Coburn Hall will offer new modern features while retaining the character that has made it an enduring symbol of the university's history.

With the project comes the restoration of a 64-foot by 10-foot mural that was painted in the 1930s, but has been covered under coats of beige paint since the 1980s. Rediscovered in 2015 by a UMass Lowell art professor, the mural’s restoration emerged as a priority in restoring Coburn Hall. Leading that effort is the chief conservator at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, who has worked painstakingly to uncover and repair the mural, which depicts a range of images, including iconic scenes around the city of Lowell and its people.