The National Statuary Hall is a chamber in the United States Capitol devoted to sculptures of prominent Americans. The hall, also known as the Old Hall of the House, is a large, two-story, semicircular room with a second story gallery along the curved perimeter. It is located immediately south of the Rotunda. The meeting place of the U.S. House of Representatives for nearly 50 years (1807–1857), after a few years of disuse in 1864 it was repurposed as a statuary hall; this is when the National Statuary Hall Collection was established.By 1933 the collection had outgrown this single room, and a number of statues are placed elsewhere within the Capitol.
The Hall is built in the shape of an ancient amphitheater and is one of the earliest examples of Neoclassical architecture in America. While most wall surfaces are painted plaster, the low gallery walls and pilasters are sandstone. Around the room's perimeter stand colossal columns of variegated breccia marble quarried along the Potomac River. The Corinthian capitals of white marble were carved in Carrara, Italy. A lantern in the fireproof cast-steel ceiling admits natural light into the Hall. The chamber floor is laid with black and white marble tiles; the black marble was purchased specifically for the chamber, while the white marble was scrap material from the Capitol extension project.
Only two of the many statues presently in the room were commissioned for display in the original Hall of the House. Enrico Causici's neoclassical plaster Liberty and the Eagle looks out over the Hall from a niche above the colonnade behind what was once the Speaker's rostrum. The sandstone relief eagle in the frieze of the entablature below was carved by Giuseppe Valaperta. Above the door leading into the Rotunda is the Car of History by Carlo Franzoni. This neoclassical marble sculpture depicts Clio, the Muse of History, riding in the chariot of Time and recording events in the chamber below. The wheel of the chariot contains the chamber clock; the works are by Simon Willard.
This chamber is the second hall and third meeting place built for the House of Representatives in this location. Prior to this, the House members met in a squat, oval, temporary building known as "the Oven,"which had been hastily erected in 1801. The first permanent Hall, designed by Benjamin Henry Latrobe, was completed in 1807; however, it was destroyed when invading British troops burned the Capitol in August, 1814 during the War of 1812. The Hall was rebuilt in its present form by Latrobe and his successor, Charles Bulfinch, between 1815 and 1819. Unfortunately, the smooth, curved ceiling promoted annoying echoes, making it difficult to conduct business. Various attempts to improve the acoustics, including hanging draperies and reversing the seating arrangement, proved unsuccessful. The only solution to this problem was to build an entirely new Hall, one in which debates could be easily understood. In 1850, a new Hall was authorized, and the House moved into its present chamber in the new House wing in 1857.
Many important events took place in this Chamber while it served as the Hall of the House. It was in this room in 1824 that the Marquis de Lafayette became the first foreign citizen to address Congress. Presidents James Madison, James Monroe, John Quincy Adams, Andrew Jackson, and Millard Fillmore were inaugurated here. John Quincy Adams, in particular, has long been associated with the Chamber. It was here in 1825 that he was elected president by the House of Representatives, none of the candidates having secured a majority of electoral votes. Following his presidency, Adams served as a Member in the Hall for 17 years. He collapsed at his desk from a stroke on February 21, 1848, and died two days later in the adjoining office, at the time, of the Speaker of the House.
The fate of the vacated Hall remained uncertain for many years, although various proposals were put forth for its use. Perhaps the simplest was that it be converted into additional space for the Library of Congress, which was still housed in the Capitol. More drastic was the suggestion that the entire Hall be dismantled and replaced by two floors of committee rooms. Eventually, the idea of using the chamber as an art gallery was approved, and works intended for the Capitol extensions were put on exhibit; among these was the plaster model for the Statue of Freedom , which was later cast in bronze for the Capitol dome. The lack of wall space effectively prevented the hanging of large paintings, but the room seemed well suited to the display of statuary.
In 1864, in accordance with legislation sponsored by Representative Justin Morrill, Congress invited each state to contribute two statues of prominent citizens for permanent display in the room, which was renamed National Statuary Hall. The legislation also provided for the replacement of the chamber's floor, which was leveled and covered with the marble tile currently in the Hall. This modification, along with the replacement of the original wooden ceiling (which was painted to simulate three-dimensional coffering) with the present one in the early 20th century, eliminated most of the echoes that earlier plagued the room.
The first statue was placed in 1870. By 1971, all 50 states had contributed at least one statue, and by 1990, all but five states had contributed two statues. Initially all of the state statues were placed in the Hall. As the collection expanded, however, it outgrew the Hall, and in 1933, Congress authorized the display of the statues throughout the building for both aesthetic and structural reasons. Presently, 38 statues are located in National Statuary Hall.
The room was partially restored in 1976 for the bicentennial celebration. At that time, the original fireplaces were uncovered and replicas of early mantels were installed. Reproductions of the chandelier, sconces, and red draperies were created for the restoration project based on The House of Representatives, an oil painting by Samuel F.B. Morse done in 1822, which now hangs in the Corcoran Gallery of Art. Bronze markers were placed on the floor to honor the presidents who served in the House of Representatives while it met here.
In 2008, 23 statues were moved from the hall to the new Capitol Visitor Center.
Two people have lain in state in the National Statuary Hall:
On January 6, 2021, armed rioters opposing the victory of President-Elect Joe Biden in the 2020 election stormed the U.S. Capitol during the Congressional certification of the vote count, and infiltrated the National Statuary Hall.
Today, Statuary Hall is one of the most visited rooms in the Capitol. It is visited by hundreds of tourists each day and continues to be used for ceremonial occasions. Special events held in the room include activities honoring foreign dignitaries and every four years Congress hosts a newly inaugurated President of the United States for a luncheon.
The following is an alphabetical list of the people depicted in the statues, along with the state represented by each statue. Note that some statues have been replaced at the request of the states over time.
The United States Capitol, often called the Capitol Building, is the meeting place of the United States Congress and the seat of the legislative branch of the U.S. federal government. It is located on Capitol Hill at the eastern end of the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Though no longer at the geographic center of the federal district, the Capitol forms the origin point for the district's street-numbering system and the district's four quadrants.
The National Statuary Hall Collection in the United States Capitol is composed of statues donated by individual states to honor persons notable in their history. Limited to two statues per state, the collection was originally set up in the old Hall of the House of Representatives, which was then renamed National Statuary Hall. The expanding collection has since been spread throughout the Capitol and its Visitor's Center.
The Kentucky State Capitol is located in Frankfort and is the house of the three branches of the state government of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Charles Henry Niehaus, was an American sculptor.
The Utah State Capitol is the house of government for the U.S. state of Utah. The building houses the chambers and offices of the Utah State Legislature, the offices of the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, the State Auditor and their staffs. The capitol is the main building of the Utah State Capitol Complex, which is located on Capitol Hill, overlooking downtown Salt Lake City.
The United States Capitol rotunda is the central rotunda of the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C., built 1818–1824. It is located below the Capitol dome, built 1857–1866; the later construction also extended the height of the rotunda walls. It is the tallest part of the Capitol and has been described as its "symbolic and physical heart".
The Old Supreme Court Chamber is the room on the ground floor of the North Wing of the United States Capitol. From 1800 to 1806, the room was the lower half of the first United States Senate chamber, and from 1810 to 1860, the courtroom for the Supreme Court of the United States.
The United States Capitol crypt is the large circular room filled with forty neoclassical Doric columns directly beneath the United States Capitol rotunda. It was built originally to support the rotunda as well as offer an entrance to Washington's Tomb. It currently serves as a museum and a repository for thirteen statues of the National Statuary Hall Collection.
The Hall of Columns is a more than 100-foot-long (30 m) hallway lined with twenty-eight fluted columns in the south wing extension of the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C. It is also the gallery for eighteen statues of the National Statuary Hall Collection.
Benjamin Matthew Victor is an American sculptor living and working in Boise, Idaho. He is the only living artist to have three works in the National Statuary Hall in the United States Capitol. He was only 26 years old when his first statue, Sarah Winnemucca, a Paiute activist in Nevada, was dedicated in the Hall in 2005, making him the youngest artist to ever be represented in the Hall. In 2014, his sculpture of Norman Borlaug, "the father of the Green Revolution," was dedicated in the National Statuary Hall and in 2019, his statue of Chief Standing Bear, a Native American rights leader, was dedicated in the National Statuary Hall making him the only living artist to have three sculptures in the Hall.
Steven Weitzman is an American public artist and designer known for his figurative sculptures, murals, and aesthetic designs for highway and bridge infrastructure projects.
Anne Whitney created two public statues of Samuel Adams. One, made in 1876, resides in the National Statuary Hall Collection in the US Capitol, Washington, D.C.. The other, made in 1880, is located in front of Faneuil Hall Plaza in Boston.
Barry Goldwater is a bronze sculpture depicting American politician and businessman of the same name by Deborah Copenhaver Fellows, installed at the United States Capitol's National Statuary Hall, in Washington, D.C., as part of the National Statuary Hall Collection. The statue was donated by the U.S. state of Arizona in 2015, and replaced a statue of John Campbell Greenway, which the state of Arizona gifted to the collection in 1930.
Norman Borlaug, or Dr. Norman E. Borlaug, is a bronze sculpture depicting the American agronomist and humanitarian of the same name by Benjamin Victor, installed in the United States Capitol's National Statuary Hall, in Washington, D.C., as part of the National Statuary Hall Collection. The statue was donated by the U.S. state of Iowa in 2014, and replaced one depicting James Harlan, which the state had gifted in 1910.
The National Statuary Hall Collection holds statues donated by each of the United States, depicting notable persons in the histories of the respective states. Displayed in the National Statuary Hall and other parts of the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C., the collection includes two statues from each state, except for Virginia which only has one, as well as one from the District of Columbia and one of Rosa Parks, making a total of 101.
John Campbell Greenway is a 1930 bronze statue of John Campbell Greenway by Gutzon Borglum, one version of which was installed in the United States Capitol, in Washington D.C., as part of the National Statuary Hall Collection. It was one of two statues donated by the state of Arizona. The sculpture was unveiled by Senator Henry Ashurst of Arizona on May 24, 1930.
James Harlan is a bronze sculpture of American attorney and politician of the same name by Nellie Walker, formerly installed in Washington, D.C.'s United States Capitol, as part of the National Statuary Hall Collection. The statue, which was gifted by the U.S. state of Iowa in 1910, was replaced with one portraying Norman Borlaug in 2014.
Equal Visibility Everywhere, also known as EVE, is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization based in Miami, Florida. EVE was founded in 2010 by the psychologist and former college professor Lynette Long, with the mission "to achieve gender parity in the monuments, symbols, and icons, of the United States." Its ongoing projects include adding more statues of women to the National Statuary Hall Collection, creating new historical markers honoring America's heroes, adding images of women to America's paper currency and coins, increasing the number of women honored on stamps and Google Doodles, and increasing the number of female character balloons in parades.
In 2019, the U.S. state of Nebraska donated a bronze sculpture of Standing Bear by Benjamin Victor to the National Statuary Hall Collection. The statue is installed in the United States Capitol's National Statuary Hall, in Washington, D.C.
There are 19 works of art in the United States Capitol honoring former leaders of the Confederate States of America and generals in the Confederate States Army, including 9 statues in the National Statuary Hall Collection, busts and portraits.