'Ceres' statue to return to Missouri Capitol
JEFFERSON CITY - A nearly 100-year-old statue that has stood atop Missouri's Capitol will make her return Friday after being sent to Chicago for restoration. The sculpture depicts a 10 foot, four-inch-tall goddess Ceres holding a bundle of grain in her left arm to signify the importance of agriculture to Missouri.
"Its roots are in agriculture," said Missouri State Capitol Commission Member Dana Rademan Miller. "It’s still one of our leading industries today and Ceres represents that. She represents agriculture, she represents the harvest and she also welcomes people to the state capital."
While she has the grain in one hand, the other hand remains empty and stretched out with her palm facing downwards. This is meant to create a welcoming gesture.
"It's a hand outreaching with the palm down as in a blessing or greeting," said Capitol Historian Bob Priddy.
According to Priddy, the sculpture was placed on top of the Capitol in 1924.
This is the first time she has been down since.
"When she came down a year ago it was the first time she’s been down among the people in more than 90 years," Priddy said. "And who knows when she’ll come down again, but this is an opportunity for some people to see something they might not see up close for another 90 years."
In November 2018, Ceres' removal from the top of the dome was completed with the aid of a 550-ton crane. The more than 1,500-pound statue was put on display for a few hours before being whisked off to Chicago for restoration. After being atop the dome for nearly 100 years, some repairs were needed.
"Upon examination, there were over 300 small pit marks showing that she had been hit by lightning," Rademan Miller said. "She was the unofficial lightning rod for the Capitol and so there was some conservation work to repair."
Ceres will be on display on the ground allowing an opportunity for community members to see an important piece of history and artwork up close.
"You can visit the Capitol any day of the week," Priddy said. "But you can’t visit Ceres any day but this weekend."
The public will have a three-day window to view her before she returns to her post.