Here is a 'capitol' idea! Enjoy our state's Capitol building from a different perspective. Create your own Bronze Art Tour. This is the third State Building in Jefferson City. Building construction was completed in 1917 and dedicated in 1924. Listed in this article are a few of the bronze pieces of art to search out.
You can begin at the top, the top of the 238-foot dome. Atop the dome is the bronze statue of Ceres. She is the Roman goddess of agriculture. She faces the north and holds a bundle of grain in one hand and extents her other hand outward as if she were extending a welcome to visitors. She signifies the importance of grain to Missourians.
Descending down from the top area of the capitol to the third floor, take time to enjoy the Hall of Famous Missourians in the rotunda. The bronze busts pay honor to many people important to our heritage. The honorees include seven Missouri women. They include: Betty Grable (movie star), Ginger Rogers (movie star), Josephine Baker (star and human rights activist), Rose Philippine Duchesne (educator), Susan Elizabeth Blow (educator), Laura Ingalls Wilder (author), and Sacajawea (Native American interpreter). Throughout the halls observe the bronze busts of former governors of Missouri. Look for Joseph McClurg whose residence was in old Linn Creek.
At the base of the grand staircase visitors will find the famous duo of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark. Their bronze sculptures need little introduction to Missourians. On the first floor is the State Museum.
Outside the Capitol at the bottom of the south-entrance stairway stands the bronze statue of Thomas Jefferson. Thirteen feet in height, the artwork was created by James Earle Fraser. Jefferson was the first US Secretary of State. During his term as President, he was instrumental in the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. He sent Lewis and Clark to explore the west; including what is now the State of Missouri.
The most impressive bronze sculpture is on the north grounds. The Signing of the Treaty, by Bitter and Weinman, was made for the 1904 World's Fair Exposition. Created out of plaster and fiber, it was a temporary exhibit for the fair. The family of the originating artist gave permission for the artwork to be cast in bronze. The existing sculpture was installed in 1929. The sculpture centers around the signing of the treaty on April 30, 1803, in Paris. "The statue has James Monroe, Robert Livingston, Ambassador to France, and Barbé, Napoleon's treasurer. Monroe is the sitting figure, Livingston stands behind him and Marbois is leaning over the table signing the treaty." The Fountain of the Centaurs is in front of the monument.
The Lewis and Clark Expedition is known as the Corp of Discovery. There were thirty-three people making up the 1803-1804 expedition. The 2008 Corps of Discovery Monument depicts the "men in a campsite at what now is the bluff where the Capitol now stands." The bronze sculpture includes; Captains Lewis and Clark, a French-Canadian-Shawnee hunter, Clark's slave, and Lewis' dog named Seaman. The monument is in the plaza near the Capitol.
What a great time of the year to "hit the open road" and spend the day exploring! A day this time of year will offer you a surprise of unseasonable warmth or a cooler-than-normal temperature. Sunshine, breezes, rain, or even a little snow will make a great day for visiting your State Capitol in Jefferson City. Most of the 500,000 square feet within the Capitol building is open to the public. And, it's all about the people of Missouri. A regular forty-five minute tour of the Capitol's four floors is available free of charge to the public. Visitors are welcomed Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. On Sundays there are tours at 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. Self-guided tour maps are available at the Capitol Tour Reservation Desk on the first floor. Tours at the Capitol are free of charge.
Free Capitol Tours: Mon-Sat, 9am-4pm & Sun 10 & 11am, 2 & 3pm