Statue of Roman goddess Ceres returns to Missouri Capitol

Published: Dec. 6, 2019 at 5:44 PM CST
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The year long spa treatment for the Roman Goddess of Agriculture is over.

"I saw the pictures when she came down," said Wayne Schenewerk of Centertown, Missouri. "She was a little damaged and beat up. I think they did a fine job."

Ceres spent the last year at the Conservation of Sculpture and Objects Studio in Chicago, after being taken off the Missouri Capitol dome last November.

It was the first time she had been taken down from the dome since she was put up there in 1924.

"It's really pretty, and it's just so cool, the craftsmanship of it," said Alyssa Thornhill of Kirksville, Mo.

During renovation, it was learned Ceres is made almost entirely of copper.

97-percent copper to be exact.

That copper statue weathered the storms for 94 years. Literally.

Conservators and restoration crews found more than 300 marks on the statue - all attributed to lightning strikes.

"Beyond that, and the fact that she was exposed to the elements for nearly 100 years, she was in incredibly good shape," said Dana Rademan Miller of the Missouri State Capitol Commission. "So, a little bit of corrosion, what we call bronze rot, but that was treated. We were able to, the conservators were able to re-mediate that thorough laser treatments."

The return of Ceres marks a milestone in the Capitol renovation process, which started in March 2018.

"We've reached the halfway point, and are actually beyond that. I'd say were about 65-70% completed with the exterior renovation of the stone," Rademan Miller added.

That's exciting news for many Missourians.

"I hope it's ready for the Bicentennial Celebration [in August 2021]. That'll be just great," said Schenewerk.

The Missouri State Capitol Commission says the restoration work on the capitol will be completed in time for Inauguration Day in January 2021.

As for Ceres, the public is able to see the statue up close and take pictures through Sunday night, before she's taken away to be prepared to sit on top of the Capitol dome.