Standing atop the Missouri State Capitol is the historic bronze statue of Ceres, the Roman goddess of agriculture. The statue was installed on Oct. 29, 1924 and has remained there ever since.
During her installation, a winch was tied to an elm tree and a pulley system was used to hoist her in three pieces to the top of the Capitol dome, where she was installed. Ceres weighs 1,407 pounds with the heaviest piece weighing 900 pounds. She stands 10 feet, four inches tall.
Ceres’ removal in November 2018 will be the first time she has come down from the Capitol dome since her original installation. The last time she underwent cleaning and conservation was in 1995 when a crew restored her on top of the dome to prevent further deterioration to the metal, referred to as “bronze rot.”
More than a century ago, the Missouri Capitol Commission selected Ceres to stand atop the Capitol to signify the importance of agriculture to the State of Missouri. In her left arm, she holds a bundle of grain.
- Ceres’ removal from the top of the Capitol dome was scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 15 with a backup date for Friday, Nov. 16 in case weather was not ideal for removal.
- The public and the press are permitted to view Ceres’ removal outside the designated construction zones. No one other than the construction crew and authorized personnel will be allowed inside the construction zones at any time during the entire project.
- Drone footage is NOT permitted during the removal of Ceres to ensure the safety of the construction crew, the public, and Ceres.
- Ceres will be removed by a 550-ton crane stationed on the eastern portion of the south lawn. She will be placed on a flatbed trailer and put on public display for approximately two hours in the media parking lot. No one is permitted to touch her at any time.
- Ceres will be uncovered when she is removed from the dome. She will remain uncovered during the public viewing event on her removal date.
- Ceres will be transported to the Conservation of Sculpture and Objects Studio, Inc. for cleaning and conservation, which is scheduled for approximately one year.
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- Though Ceres is a bronze statue, she is made up of approximately 94% copper. This percentage has helped keep the statue in great shape throughout the years.
- During the evaluation of Ceres, it was determined that she had been struck by lightning more than 300 times. But, lightning never traveled through her.
- Throughout the summer 2019, Ceres was undergoing laser cleaning treatment. This process is less invasive, which will safely remove contaminants while also preserving her natural color tones and the patina of her bronze.
- Office of Administration announced in late November that the restoration of Ceres is nearing its completion and that she would be returning to the Missouri State Capitol Friday, December 6, 2019.
- It was also announced that there will be a public viewing starting December 6 and continuing until the morning of December 9. She will be displayed near the media parking lot on the south end of the Missouri State Capitol.
Learn more about Ceres’ return
Watch Ceres’ removal on Facebook Live