JEFFERSON CITY – The Missouri Office of Administration today announced that Ceres, the bronze statue on top of the Capitol Building emulated after the Roman goddess of agriculture, is scheduled to be removed on Thursday, Nov. 15 for scheduled cleaning and conservation. If weather is not ideal for removal, a backup removal date is scheduled for Friday, Nov. 16.
When Ceres comes down this month, it will be her first time off of the Capitol dome. She was installed on Oct. 29, 1924. Crews tied a wench to a tree and hoisted her in three pieces using a pulley system to the top of the Capitol. Ceres weighs approximately 1,500-2,000 pounds with her largest piece weighing 900 pounds. She is 10 feet, four inches tall.
“The Ceres statue is a beautiful treasure for the Capital City and the State of Missouri,” said Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe. “The conservation of this historic piece of art will ensure she can be enjoyed by many more generations to come. As the goddess of agriculture, Ceres represents Missouri’s long history of supporting farmers and the agricultural industry in our great state.”
“Ceres’ removal will be a historic event as she will come down to ground level for the first time since her installation,” said Office of Administration Commissioner Sarah Steelman. “For the entirety of many of our lives, we have admired Ceres from a great distance. This month, we will have the rare opportunity to view her up close to appreciate her beauty and magnificence.”
“We hope the public will join us in celebrating Ceres as we make history this month,” said Dana Miller, chairwoman of the Missouri Capitol Commission. “The Missouri Capitol Building features amazing artwork and Ceres is a true masterpiece that culminates the artistry of our Capitol.”
Crews will use a 550-ton crane to remove Ceres and place her on the flatbed of a trailer. She will then be on display for a public viewing for approximately two hours immediately following the removal in the media parking lot located between the south lawn and High Street. No one will be permitted to touch Ceres at the public viewing.
During the removal, drone flying is not permitted for the safety of the construction crew, the public, and Ceres. The public and press are welcome to view the removal from areas outside the designated construction zones.
Following the public viewing, Ceres will be transported to the Conservation of Sculpture and Objects Studio, Inc. for cleaning and conservation and this is anticipated to take approximately one year. The last time she underwent 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.”
Ceres was created by Sherry Fry, a male sculptor from Iowa. Audrey Munson, known famously as America’s first supermodel, is said to have been the model for the sculpting of Ceres.