While the new overhaul was expected to be completed in April 2015, renovations were not quite finished when I was there in May. This did not, however, detract from how impressed I was.
The massive new domes, which will be illuminated with colored lights, were sitting on a side street, awaiting the completion of all the other changes on the roof (which will now include wind turbines, as well as merely decorative elements).
I was too early to see art in the new Oscar Howe gallery, but I did at least get to see the large, bright space where it will be housed. The lobby was nearly finished, with the tiled columns (looking handsomely corn-like) finished and most of the timelines in place, but final touches were still being put on.
All that said, while there are more dramatic changes being made at present, as the Corn Palace is updated, there is a degree to which it spends much of the year in transition. In late May (just when I was visiting), the rye, other grains, and native grasses that frame the corn murals begins to get replaced. Then, at the end of August, the corn murals themselves come down, and, coinciding with the corn harvest, new ones begin to go up, generally completed by the first of October. (In other words, September is pretty crazy busy.
So while the Corn Palace wasn’t completely pulled together when I arrived, I was pleased that I wasn’t there in September, as the corn murals really are a highlight. That said, having seen videos of the murals being made, maybe that wouldn’t be such a bad time for a second visit.