Repairs Under Way on George Washington Equestrian Monument on Capitol Square
About the Repairs
In the 30 years since the last restoration effort,
water has infiltrated the masonry and interior of the monument. Cleaning, repair, and restoration cleaning are required immediately to stabilize and preserve the historic monument. In order to prevent further deterioration during the winter, work is being
completed this summer/fall and will take approximately six months.
George Washington Equestrian Monument (1858)
A large equestrian statue of George Washington (February 22, 1732- December 14, 1799) atop a granite pedestal was conceived to honor Washington and to glorify Virginia's contributions to the nation's independence. Virginia's role in the Revolution is depicted
by six of her sons surrounding the figure of General Washington, who is dressed in a military uniform. Smaller allegorical figures below the six pedestrian statues are inscribed with themes reflecting each patriot's contribution: Andrew Lewis, Colonial Times;
Patrick Henry, Revolution; George Mason, Bill of Rights; Thomas Jefferson, Independence; Thomas Nelson, Jr., Finance; and John Marshall, Justice.
In 1849, the Virginia General Assembly held an architectural competition and selected a design by Thomas Crawford, an American
sculptor working in Rome. The design Crawford submitted largely conforms to the completed George Washington Equestrian Monument in place today with its base in the shape of a star fort and the three-tiered pedestal for sculptural figures. The stonework of the
base was complete by 1854. Discussions repeatedly took place to relocate the remains of Washington there, but his heir Bushrod Washington refused
the request. The hope of making Capitol Square Washington's last resting place became a symbolic hope, and Crawford's design includes a cenotaph, or symbolic tomb, in the stone base.
Crawford finished the sculptures of Washington, Jefferson, and Henry. He had the George Washington Equestrian statue cast
in Munich, Germany shortly before his death in 1857. His American colleague, Randolph Rogers, completed the statues of Mason, Marshall, Nelson, and Lewis, as well as the allegorical figures, the last of which was put into place in 1869.
A United States frigate transported the equestrian figure to Richmond. A group of men and boys hauled the statue to Capitol
Square from Rocketts Landing, breaking down a section of fence in the process. Charles Dimmock, an engineer, rigged an ingenious wooden derrick to hoist the statue onto the base, and legend has it he threatened workers at gunpoint when they appeared to be letting
go of the rope. The unveiling of the statue was an event of national importance, which took place on Washington's birthday, February 22, 1858. The statue was one of Richmond's most prominent attractions. The Commonwealth erected a cast-iron fence around the
base in the 1870s to prevent visitors from climbing on the base. [National Park Service]
New Exhibit at the State Capitol
Beginning April 2, 2015, the Virginia General Assembly will showcase a new exhibition in the gallery of the Capitol Extension, accessed by the public from the Bank Street entrance. Called Eye on the Capitol, this exhibit was developed in partnership with the Capitol Square Preservation Council, and will run for several months to support spring and fall fieldtrips as well as the summer tourist season.
Eye on the Capitol takes the visitor from the lead-up to the evacuation of the Capital City and its burning on April 2, 1865, to occupation by Federal troops and officials, and to the beginnings of recovery and rebuilding on new foundations. The Capitol and Square and environs are seen through the words of eye witnesses and the images of artists, map-makers and photographers of the day. Eye on the Capitol provides a visual and content-rich experience to teach about this defining period of our shared journey as a nation.
House and Senate Live Video of 2016 Sessions
The Virginia House of Delegates and the Senate of Virginia offer live streaming video of the 2016 Legislative Sessions, when each body convenes for session. The adjourn and convene times are tweeted, #vahouse and #vasenate.
Monument to the Achievements of the Women of Virginia to be Installed on Virginia's Capitol Square
Conceptual rendering of the monument ©EISStudio and 1717 Design Group
RICHMOND – 3/28/13 The Women of Virginia Commemorative Commission announced the selection of the winning design for the Women's Monument to be placed on the grounds of Virginia's Capitol Square in Richmond. Thought to be the first of its kind in the nation, the Monument will commemorate the collective contributions of the women of Virginia throughout the past 400 years of its storied history. Prominently placed and respectfully integrated into the historic Capitol landscape, the Monument's oval-garden design includes elements of sculpture and landscaping that will provide visitors an interactive and educational experience. Out of 34 designs submitted from around the world, the Commission unanimously selected the winning design by StudioEIS of Brooklyn, New York and The 1717 Design Group, Inc. of Richmond, Virginia. Today’s decision was announced in conjunction with the Library of Virginia's annual Virginia Women in History awards celebration.
See the full press release of the monument announcement.
Legacy of Virginia Indians honored on Capitol Square
3d model of the "Mantle" monument ©Alan Michelson
RICHMOND – 10/25/12 Citizens of Virginia are one step closer to having a permanent monument on historical Capitol Square, celebrating the legacy of the Commonwealth’s Indian tribes. Last Wednesday evening the Virginia Indian Commemorative Commission approved by acclamation the final design to commemorate the many contributions of the Virginia Indians.
The consensus proposal, titled Mantle, consists of spiral elements, a winding footpath, a wall that doubles as a bench for seating, native plant species indigenous to Virginia, and at the center a reflecting pool containing the names of Virginia’s Indian tribes. Alan Michelson, a Mohawk member of Six Nations of the Grand River, is an award winning artist, living in New York City. “(Mantle) requires the visitor to neither look up nor look down, but invites one to enter—from the east—and participate in it. It is not conceived as a static monument to be venerated but an active one to be experienced by moving off the everyday grid and into the American Indian circle.”
Images of the model may be found on the Commission's Facebook page. A full press release on the monument is also available.
"Keepers of the Flame" film now showing at the Capitol
Capitol visitors can learn more about Virginia’s central role in American history, thanks to a new film, Keepers of the Flame, produced by the Virginia Capitol Foundation with assistance from actor, filmmaker, and Virginia native Tim Reid. The 20-minute visually-interactive film is available for viewing seven days a week during regular Capitol tour hours.
NOTE: As Richmond's Capitol building is a working one, there may be times when the venues for viewing the film may be occupied for official state or legislative meetings. If you are wishing to see the film at a specific time, it is recommended to call (804) 698-1788 to check on its availability.
The film features compelling stories of individuals who have made an impact on Virginia history – from well-known figures like Thomas Jefferson and George Washington to High School Student Barbara Johns who proved that everyone can make a difference. This film, coupled with the Capitol’s ongoing educational programs and exhibits, tells the story of Virginia’s representative government and celebrates the Commonwealth’s central role in American history with a goal of inspiring viewers to appreciate and become involved with public service.
Activity Book Download
Keepers of the Flame can be seen at regular intervals during visiting hours of the Virginia State Capitol in the new Capitol extension.
The film is also available within the Virginia General Assembly Website.
See more information about visting the Capitol in person or receive help with scheduling a group visit, by calling (804) 698-1788 to verify daily tour schedules and make group tour appointments for groups of 10 or more.
A new "Keepers of the Flame" Activity Book is now available for download.
The film and Student Activity Book correlate with the 2008 History and Social Science Standards of Learning for Virginia Studies. The activity book was created by Tanya Siwik, a Fairfax County Public Schools teacher, in collaboration withBetsy Barton, Specialist for History and Social Science for the Commonwealth of Virginia's Department of Education.
A full news release about the film is available.
26th Joint Commemorative Session of the Virginia General Assembly
Williamsburg, Virginia - January 30, 2016
On Saturday, January 30, 2016, the General Assembly of Virginia held the 26th commemorative session at the historic Capitol building in Colonial Williamsburg. These sessions are a recognition of Virginia’s legislature as the oldest continuous legislative body in the Western Hemisphere, dating back to 1619.
A highlight of each commemorative session is an address on a current issue facing Virginia, the United States, or the world. For this session, the president of William & Mary, Taylor Reveley, titled his remarks, “In the beginning was Virginia, and Virginia led.”
You can find more information in the commemorative program, and see photos of this event in our 2016 Commemorative Session photo album on Flickr.
2016 Usage Guidelines for the Capitol Campus
The Virginia Capitol, one of the most historic structures in the Western Hemisphere, every year welcomes thousands of Virginia citizens and visitors from around the country and throughout the world. The Virginia Capitol is unique among historic sites because it also is a working government building. It is important to respect and safeguard the historic nature of the Capitol as well as preserve the public’s access to their government without impeding the day-to-day operations of state government and the conduct of the people’s business.
In accordance with local, state, and federal laws, rules, and regulations, interim rules regarding the Capitol and the House and Senate galleries have been established jointly by the Clerk of the House and the Clerk of the Senate at the direction of the General Assembly’s Committee on Joint Rules.
Groups interested in holding an event on Capitol Square will need a permit. Please see the Commonwealth of Virginia's Division of Engineering and Buildings (DEB) webpage.