Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Women of Wednesday--Statuesque Ladies

Did you know that each of the 50 states has two representative statues in the U.S. Capitol? A law passed in 1864 allows for statues "...of deceased persons who have been citizens thereof, and illustrious for their historic renown or for distinguished civic or military services such as each State may deem to be worthy..."

Originally the collection of statues was held in the National Statuary Hall, but, by 1933, the Hall could not physically hold all the states' statues. Today, only 38 statues reside in the Hall and the rest are displayed throughout the Capitol building.

A complete list of the statues can be found here. If I counted correctly, of the 100 statues, only 7 are women! Women sculptors fair better--of the 100 statues, around 15 were created by women.

Helen Keller was added in 2009 as a replacement. A law passed in 2000 allowed the states to replace statues (so far, only three have been replaced). Take a look at the list of statues for your state. Is there a statue of a man that could be replaced by a more notable woman? The lobbying of a state legislature for a replacement might be memorable lesson in civics for a Girl Scout troop, or a worthy project for a group of college sorority sisters. It's neither a quick nor easy task as outlined here, but it is achievable!


Photo of the statue of Jeanette Rankin courtesy Architect of the Capitol

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