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The Statue of Freedom

The Statue of Freedom was sculpted in Rome by the American artist Thomas Crawford. Upon learning of the statue’s final height, architect Thomas U. Walter redesigned the dome, lowering it to accommodate the 19½-foot bronze sculpture and creating an inner dome with a canopy to hold a fresco by Constantino Brumidi.

The Statue of Freedom

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.