The Virginia Capitol is a living landmark to American self-government. Since 1788, it has been home to the General Assembly, the oldest legislature continuously operating in the Western Hemisphere. Designed by Thomas Jefferson, the Capitol was the first public building in the New World constructed in the Monumental Classical style; it has served as a prototype for countless capitols, courthouses, municipal buildings, and even churches and residences for more than 200 years.
Capitol visitors can now learn more about Virginia’s central role in American history, thanks to a new film, Keepers of the Flame, produced by the Virginia Capitol Foundation with assistance from actor, filmmaker, and Virginia native Tim Reid. The 20-minute visually-interactive film will be available in the Virginia Capitol Visitor Extension for viewing seven days a week during regular tour hours. For visitors that can not view the film at the Capitol, it is also presented below via YouTube.
A new Keepers of the Flame student activity book has been developed and is available for download. The film and Student Activity Book correlate with the 2008 History and Social Science Standards of Learning for Virginia Studies. The activity book was created by Tanya Siwik, a Fairfax County Public Schools teacher, in collaboration withBetsy Barton, Specialist for History and Social Science for the Commonwealth of Virginia's Department of Education.
A gathering place in the heart of the City for two centuries, Capitol Square's historic landscape is now part of an exciting partnership with other outstanding Richmond institutions to offer visitors at home and far afield the opportunity to enjoy a rich and varied garden experiences in the Capital. In addition to Capitol Square, the consortium includes Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Maymont, Agecroft, Virginia Center for Architecture, Valentine Richmond History Center, the Poe Museum and the Jefferson hotel. For more information visit the Richmond Garden Trail website or call 804-225-2811.
RICHMOND, VA — 11/08/13 Following an extensive search, Virginia's Capitol Square Preservation Council (CSPC) today announced the appointment of Kathleen S. Kilpatrick — a nationally recognized and widely respected leader in cultural resource policy, from public history and educational programming to preservation management and development of historic sites — as its new Executive Director, beginning December 1, 2013. Ms. Kilpatrick brings over 35 years of professional experience in historic and cultural resource policy development and administration to the CSPC position, having been Director of the Virginia Department of Historic Resources and State Historic Preservation Officer through four governors over the past 13 years. The CPSC is a legislative branch agency charged with planning and reviewing projects that affect the Virginia State Capitol designed by Thomas Jefferson, its historic artifacts, and other historic buildings on or adjacent to Capitol Square as well as advising on landscape, architectural, and archaeological features at the seat of state government in Richmond.
Second in a series of annual collectible ornaments, the 2013 Virginia Capitol Ornament features the historic Bell Tower on Capitol Square. Finished in brilliant 24K gold, made entirely in the U.S.A, and presented in a handsome gift box, the ornament is a perfect gift for colleagues and friends. All proceeds support the Virginia Capitol Foundation’s mission to enhance the educational and cultural potential of Capitol Square’s historic treasures through program development and community engagement.
The First Annual Virginia Capitol Ornament*, introduced in 2012, featured the Jefferson-designed Capitol. “The Foundation is pleased to offer these limited-edition ornaments to celebrate and support Capitol Square while establishing a new tradition for the Commonwealth,” said Foundation Trustee and program chair Wendy Church Sydnor.
Download a detailed price list and order form.
Additionally, pre-orders are also being taken online at the Virginia Capitol Foundation's secure giving site.
*A limited number of 2012 ornaments are still available for purchase'
RICHMOND – 3/28/13 The Women of Virginia Commemorative Commission announced the selection of the winning design for the Women's Monument to be placed on the grounds of Virginia's Capitol Square in Richmond. Thought to be the first of its kind in the nation, the Monument will commemorate the collective contributions of the women of Virginia throughout the past 400 years of its storied history. Prominently placed and respectfully integrated into the historic Capitol landscape, the Monument's oval-garden design includes elements of sculpture and landscaping that will provide visitors an interactive and educational experience. Out of 34 designs submitted from around the world, the Commission unanimously selected the winning design by StudioEIS of Brooklyn, New York and The 1717 Design Group, Inc. of Richmond, Virginia. Today’s decision was announced in conjunction with the Library of Virginia's annual Virginia Women in History awards celebration.
See the full press release on the monument announcement.
The Board of Trustees of the Virginia Capitol Foundation announces that the long-anticipated statue of Thomas Jefferson will be dedicated on Friday, May 4, 2012. The Executive Committee of the 2007 Virginia Capitol Restoration and Extension Project charged the Virginia Capitol Foundation with the task of commissioning an original work of art representing Thomas Jefferson, the architect of the Virginia Capitol. Three distinguished Virginians - Tom Farrell, Bill Goodwin, Brent Halsey and their families - stepped forward to fund the project which has taken just over a year to complete. Ivan Schwartz, co-founder of StudioEIS, was tapped by the Foundation to create the original full-length bronze image. The statue, which will be on permanent display in the Capitol Extension, will serve as a guidepost, beckoning the more than 100,000 annual visitors to enter America’s first monument to democracy.
Capitol Guides will be available in the Capitol Extension Plaza throughout the day on Friday, May 4, and over the weekend to share details of the statue and answer questions. As always, the Capitol is open for tours seven days a week on the following schedule: Monday through Saturday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and Sundays from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Call (804) 698-1788 for more information.
The General Assembly recognized the 225th anniversary of the arrival in Richmond of the original Thomas Jefferson-commissioned model of the Capitol on February 28, 1787. With a Scale of 1:60, Fouquet’s plaster model, which is one of many artifacts still on display daily, was the working prototype for Virginia's State Capitol. Jefferson’s Capitol design marked the birth of the Classical Revival movement in America and has influenced the design of public buildings constructed in other cities throughout the United States and beyond. Its cornerstone laid in 1785, Virginia’s State Capitol is home to the oldest continuously elected law-making body in the Western Hemisphere.
The General Assembly has released a state of the art virtual tours website that brings Virginia's State Capitol to the citizens of Virginia. The website provides online tours of both the Capitol Grounds and the Capitol Building. Visitors to this interactive website will have the ability to explore areas on their own or view video presentations.
Please note the virtual tours website requires the Adobe Flash Player. You can download the Flash Player at the Adobe website at no charge. If you do not have the Flash Player plug-in installed, you will be prompted to install it before any content is shown.
For visitors with special needs: An accessible segment of this website has been created for those visitors who use technology other than standard web browsers to view web content.
On July 21, 2008, The Virginia Civil Rights Memorial was unveiled on Capitol Square. The Memorial is a privately financed, $2.6 million granite and bronze statue. It is the first statue on the grounds of the historic Capitol to include depictions of blacks and women in prominent roles.
The 18-figure sculpture called a "living memorial" by sculptor Stanley Bleifeld is meant to represent a key moment in the history of the civil-rights movement in Virginia. The new Memorial spotlights the African-American students in rural Prince Edward County whose 1951 walkout to protest their run-down school led to a lawsuit that was folded into the challenge that triggered the 1954 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court banning segregated public schools.
Among the figures on the Memorial is Oliver W. Hill, Sr. holding a rumpled legal brief aloft as he stands shoulder to shoulder with law partner Spottswood W. Robinson III. They took on the case of the Prince Edward County students who protested the shabby condition of their school. Barbara Johns was the one who called the school strike in 1951 and she is also featured. The student protests garnered support from the local community, benefiting from the moral leadership of the Rev. L. Francis Griffin, who is also a part of the memorial.
The Virginia State Capitol, recently restored, and Poplar Forest, Jefferson's rural retreat in Bedford County, are among 14 sites in the U.S. selected for inclusion on a new U.S. World Heritage Tentative List, Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne announced earlier this year. Inclusion on the U.S. list is "the necessary first step" toward being considered for inscription on the United Nations World Heritage List, "the most prestigious international recognition accorded to properties of global importance," Kempthorne said in his announcement.