While there is no official U.S. Capitol Women Statues Tour, you can book a free U.S. Capitol Tour which permits you to see the famous women memorialized at the U.S. Capitol.
The U.S. Capitol now displays 14 statues of women. Twelve statues are part of the National Statuary Hall Collection (representing 12% of the 100 statues). The U.S. Congress also separately authorized two female statues to be displayed at the U.S. Capitol.
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Bipartisan legislation means statues of Supreme Court justices Sandra Day O’Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg—the first women to sit on the highest court in the country—will be memorialized at the U.S. Capitol.
“Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sandra Day O’Connor were trailblazers long before reaching the Supreme Court, opening doors for women at a time when so many insisted on keeping them closed.”U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar
The statues must be placed within two years of its enactment. The preferred (“priority”) location is any spot close to the old Supreme Court chamber in the Senate wing of the U.S. Capitol.
National Statutory Hall Collection
Individual states donate the statues to honor persons notable in their history. They can also replace statues.
For example, Florida removed its 100-year-old bronze sculpture of Confederate Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith in September 2021. The state replaced it with a new marble statue of education pioneer and civil rights advocate Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune.
U.S. Capitol Women Statues Tour
People think all the statues are situated in the National Statuary Hall. But they are spread throughout the U.S. Capitol, including the Capitol Visitor Center, the Crypt, the Hall of Columns, the Rotunda, and various areas throughout the House and Senate wings of the Capitol.
Since you will probably have a minimum 15-minute wait to start your tour of the U.S. Capitol Center, this is a great time to study the women’s statues located in the Emancipation Hall.
Authorized by U.S. Congress
There are statues of two women who are authorized by the U.S. Congress BUT not part of the National Statutory Hall Collection.
The statue of civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks is located in the National Statutory Hall.
Following her death on October 24, 2005, she was accorded the rare tribute of having her remains lie in honor in the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol in recognition of her contribution to advancing civil and human rights.
The bust of abolitionist Sojourner Truth is located in the Capital Visitor Center. She delivered her famous speech “Ain’t I a Woman?” at the Ohio Women’s Rights Convention. She chastised the women suffragist movement for the stark contrast between the treatment of white and black women.
Below is the list of the 12 women who are represented in the National Statutory Hall Collection:
2. The statue of missionary Mother Joseph (Washington) is located in the Capitol Visitor Center.
3. The statue of Helen Keller (Alabama) is located in the Capitol Visitor Center.
4. Jeannette Rankin (Montana) became the first woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1916. Her statue is located in the Capitol Visitor Center.
5. The statue of college professor and lecturer Maria L. Sanford (Minnesota) is located in the Capitol Visitor Center.
6. The statue of Native American activist Sarah Winnemucca is located in the Capitol Visitor Center. She wrote the autobiography, Life among the Piutes: Their Wrongs and Claims. It was the first book written by a Native American woman.
7. The statue of suffrage pioneer Esther Hobart Morris (Wyoming) is located in the Hall of Columns.
8. The statue of Florence R. Sabin (Colorado)—a pioneer in science and public health—is located in the Hall of Columns
9. The statue of presidential advisor and civil rights activist Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune (Florida) Is located in the National Statutory Hall.
10. The statue of record-setting aviator Amelia Earhart (Kansas) is located in the National Statutory Hall.
11. The statue of temperance movement pioneer Frances E. Willard (Illinois) is located in the National Statutory Hall.
12. The statue of Lewis and Clark guide Sakakawea (North Dakota) is located in the Capitol Visitor Center.
Women Suffragist Monument
During your tour, you will also see the Portrait Monument to Lucretia Mott, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony at the Rotunda. Adelaide Johnson sculpted it in 1920.
The National Woman’s Party presented it as a gift. It was accepted on behalf of Congress by the Joint Committee on the Library on February 10, 1921.
I noticed that the sculpture is not completed. There is a part of the marble left to be carved for the first female President of the United States.
Free U.S. Capitol Tour
While you can click on the link to read about these women’s achievements, I think it is more exciting to see their statues up close.
Plus touring the U.S. Capitol is FREE. Typically you can’t book online same-day tickets. Book advance reservations.
Tours can also be arranged directly through the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center (CVC) using an online reservation system. To make a reservation, please visit www.visitthecapitol.gov/plan-visit/book-tour-capitol.
The Capitol Visitor Center is open Monday-Saturday from 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Tours begin every 10 minutes until 3:20 p.m. All tours are led by their professional tour guides.
The tour begins with an orientation film that discusses the Founding Fathers’ efforts to establish our representative democracy. Then the guide leads a tour through the Crypt, the Rotunda, and the National Statutory Hall. Visitors do not get to visit the Senate and House Galleries.
Currently, the U.S. Capitol offers a free tour of the grounds at 11 a.m.
Virtual U.S. Capitol Tour
If you won’t be missing Washington DC soon, you can participate in the Architect of the Capitol’s virtual tour of the U.S. Capitol. The 7-minute video will take you through the main rooms visited during the tour. You will also see a few women statues.
The Architect of the Capitol (AOC) can trace its beginnings to the laying of the U.S. Capitol cornerstone in 1793. AOC is responsible for the operations and care of more than 18.4 million square feet of facilities, 570 acres of grounds and thousands of works of art. The Capitol campus is home to 30,000 daily occupants and hosts more than 3 million visitors annually.