Washington DC, A to Z: Kamehameha I

Kamehameha I
Thomas R. Gould Artist
Given by Hawaii in 1969
Emancipation Hall – U.S. Capitol Visitor Center

I’m sure you weren’t expecting  my letter K post about our  Washington DC vacation to be the name of the man who conquered and united the Hawaiian Islands. A more accurate title for this post would be The Capitol Visitors Center. Chronologically it follows Hell’s Kitchen Mahnomin Porridge.

After eating breakfast and getting our pictures taken,  our small group followed our tour guide Sam, an intern at Franken’s office, through the underground tunnels to the  Capitol Visitors Center. While Sam  went over to get our passes for the Capitol tour, I took pictures of these statues.

Helen Keller
Edward Hlavka Artist
Given by Alabama in 2009
Emancipation Hall – U.S. Capitol Visitor Center

Sam returned and explained why these statues are in the Capitol Visitors Center by telling us about the history of the  National Statuary Hall Collection.

About 150 years ago, there was a large, two-story, semicircular room south of the Capitol Rotunda that was no longer being used for it’s original purpose.  For fifty years it had been the House Chamber. By 1850, it had become clear that the room was no longer large enough to serve that purpose. (The rapidly growing number of states added to the United States resulted in an even more rapidly growing number of  Representatives.) The Capitol was expanded and in 1864,  Congress invited each state to contribute two statues of prominent citizens for permanent display in the room, which was renamed National Statuary Hall.

The states started slowly sending in their large brass or marble statues and in 1933 it was determined that the entire collection could not be kept in the National Statuary Hall. Not only was it becoming aesthetically unpleasing, there was a good chance that the floor would collapse. (At that time the Hall held 65 statues, which stood, in some cases, three deep).

There are now 100 statues in the collection (2 for every state). Thirty-five statues are currently located in National Statuary Hall, six in the Rotunda, 13 in the Crypt, 13 in the Hall of Columns and 24 in the Capitol Visitor Center. The remaining statues are located in various areas throughout the House and Senate wings of the Capitol.

Click here to view the statues in this collection by name or state order or here to the view statues by location.

I never would have noticed this statue if Sam wouldn’t have pointed it out. (Another benefit of reserving a tour through the office one of your state Representatives). This statue is one of four statues that are in front of columns that frame the original plaster cast of the Statue of Freedom, the bronze statue that stands atop the Capitol dome.

Maria Sanford 
Evelyn Raymond Artist
Given by Minnesota in 1958
Emancipation Hall – U.S. Capitol Visitor Center

Maria Sanford is one of the  two prominent citizens selected by the state of Minnesota. The other is Henry Mower Rice who at least I had  heard of.  There is a very pretty park in downtown St. Paul named after him. As Sam pointed out, the only way you are guaranteed to see both statues from your state is to book your tour though your Representative or Senate office.

After passing the statue of Maria Sanford we walked up a stairway to start our Capitol tour that will be described in a letter further along in the alphabet.

There are many, many things to do at the Capitol and not all of them require advance reservations.

The website Visit the Capitol has extensive information including an Interactive Tour of Exhibition Hall which we decided not to visit.

The list of  items that are strictly prohibited in the Capitol, including the Capitol Visitor Center, includes items that are allowed on flights. Before entering the Capitol Visitor Center, all visitors are screened by a magnetometer and all items that are permitted inside the building are screened by an x-ray device.Click here for more info.


6 thoughts on “Washington DC, A to Z: Kamehameha I

  1. Great to know we can do other things. I'm not sure when we'll be going, so advance reservations might be tough…plus, they're always locking down the Capitol to visitors at random intervals, so I'd hate to plan our trip around it, only to have it canceled because there's a war somewhere.


  2. The statues are great to look at and love the Hawaiin king with the gold drapery. Glad they removed them to another locale since the floor could not hold them


  3. Anabel wrote a very interesting comment about Anne Frank which I accidentally deleted. I don't think I got around to mentioning that Helen Keller replaced some man that people didn't remember much anymore. She is buried in the National Cathedral next to Annie Sullivan. I tried to locate them but wasn't able to.


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