Restoring the Original Statue
While the statue had been cleaned in place over the years, in 1991 it was determined that to fully restore the statue, it would have to come down. On May 9, 1993, Freedom was lifted from its pedestal and lowered onto the east front plaza. The conservation effort included removing corrosion and caulk and stripping the interior paint. Repairs included 750 bronze plugs and patches. Chemicals were applied to restore the patina, and the bronze was given protective coatings. The cast iron pedestal was cleaned, repaired, and painted in place atop the dome. The statue was lifted back in place by helicopter in September 1993, the bicentennial of the laying of the first cornerstone of the Capitol.
Architect of the Capitol
Statue of Freedom
The full-size plaster model for the Statue of Freedom was used to cast the bronze statue on top of the Capitol dome. Freedom wears a helmet encircled with stars and topped with an eagle’s head and feathers, the talons hanging at either side of her face. Her long, curly hair flows down her back. Her dress is secured with a brooch with the letters “US,” and she is draped with a fur-trimmed robe. Her right hand holds a sheathed sword, the left a laurel wreath of victory and the striped shield of the United States.
The model, which had been stored in pieces for many years, was restored in 1992 by the Architect of the Capitol with funds donated to the U.S. Capitol Preservation Commission. It was on display in the Russell Senate Office Building before being moved to Emancipation Hall in the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center.
The bronze Statue of Freedom, facing east over the central entrance, crowns the dome of the United States Capitol. The bronze Statue of Freedom, facing east over the central entrance, crowns the dome of the United States Capitol, 288 feet above the east front plaza.