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Treasures from the Capitol Museum: Miss Liberty
When you're driving through downtown Atlanta, one particular building stands out. It’s not the tallest building, but it still holds its ground among the skyscrapers surrounding it. It will catch your eye and maybe even make you do a double take. On a sunny day, you’ll probably need to put on sunglasses in order to see it fully because the shine can be blinding. Can anybody guess what building this is?
The Georgia State Capitol, of course.
The gold dome in itself is quite impressive. However, what sits on top of the dome? Is it a replica of the Statue of Liberty? Not quite, but close!
Sitting on top of the Capitol is a white-stoned statue of a woman raising a torch to the sky and pointing a sword to the ground. Although we’re not exactly sure who she is (a fire in the early 20th century destroyed many records about her), we’ve dubbed her Miss Freedom.
She wears a “liberty cap” similar to those worn by ex-slaves in ancient Rome. Patriots during the French Revolution also wore these caps symbolizing freedom from the French monarchy. She represents freedom and commemorates those who sacrificed for war.
Installed in the late 1880s, she is 26 feet tall from torch to feet and weighs 1,600 pounds. Originally she weighed about 1,250 pounds but in 2004 she was restored and reinforced with an extra 400 pounds. She is made of sheets of copper covering a hollow frame, all of which is painted white. Starting in 1959, you could see the torch in her hand light up at night. A person can change the light bulb from the inside of the statue using a retractable trolley that is attached to a 5-inch tube in her arm.
Most people have seen Miss Liberty atop the gold dome, but many don’t realize there is a smaller replica inside the Capitol. Close to the Senate Gallery, sitting atop a wooden throne, sits a small version of Miss Liberty.
Many other relics and artifacts reside on the top floor of the Georgia State Capitol—known as the Capitol Museum. You can see Miss Liberty's mini-me for yourself and learn about other Georgia artifacts by going on a guided tour of the Capitol Museum.
About the Author
Bethany McDaniel is the Interactive Web Content Manager for GeorgiaGov. She graduated from Berry College in Rome, GA with degrees in Visual Communication and History.