Goddess of Liberty

1100 Congress Ave Austin

Texas State Capitol/Goddess of Liberty
Bullock Museum
Written By Bullock Museum

An insider's look at Texas history | Nearly 8 million visitors from around the state and all over the world have explored Texas history and culture at the Bullock Texas State History Museum since it opened in 2001.

Based on Greek and Roman architectural details, the Goddess of Liberty was designed by Detroit's Elijah E. Myers, architect of the Texas Capitol, and was included in his original contest drawings submitted in 1881. The Texas Goddess is probably based on similar 19th century statues of the Greek goddess Athena and represents truth, justice, and art. Standing sixteen feet high, the original Goddess was installed on top of the Texas Capitol in late February, 1888.

On June 14, 1986, amid high winds and held breaths, the new Goddess replica was placed on top of the Capitol dome. The original Goddess of Liberty was restored and taken on a short tour to Fort Worth and the State Fair of Texas in Dallas in 1986. After nearly 100 years atop the Capitol dome, the original Goddess of Liberty now lives at the Bullock Texas State History Museum in Austin.

2017 Conservation Project

The original 1888 Goddess of Liberty statue that graced the top of the Texas State Capitol Building dome for nearly 100 years is one of the most significant and prominent artifacts in the Bullock Museum. A Texas treasure, it is part of the State Preservation Board's Capitol Historical Artifact Collection and is on permanent exhibition, towering over the Bullock Museum's main galleries.

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In 2017, a generous grant from the Bank of America Art Conservation Project provided funds for a specialized, comprehensive cleaning and minor repairs to the exterior paint layer by a nationally recognized art conservator. Work performed during public hours meant visitors were able to see the science and care that goes into artifact care at the Museum. Digital mapping of the statue is being used to create a three-dimensional, detailed archival record of the Goddess.

Constructing a Goddess

The Texas Capitol's goddess was constructed primarily of galvanized iron and zinc. The eighty separate pieces were then welded together to form four sections: the torso, two arms, and the head. Seen from the ground, the Goddess looks like the stately figure she is intended to be.

Seen up close, however, she's not quite so attractive. But that's for a reason. The Goddess's facial features were exaggerated so that she would look normal to people standing 300 feet below her. When she was unveiled, not everybody liked her face, either from far away or up close. A reporter for the Austin Weekly Statesman referred to her as "Old Lady Goddess."

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