Civil War Paintings Will Be Returned to State Capitol
St. Paul, MN (KROC-AM News) - Governor Mark Dayton’s bid to replace some historic paintings of the Civil War has failed.
The Minnesota Historical Society Executive Council met Thursday and voted unanimously to adopt an Ad Hoc Committee’s recommendations for the artwork that will be displayed in the State Capitol after the completion of an over $300 million renovation project next month.
The recommendations include returning four paintings of Civil War battles to the Governor’s Reception Hall and two other paintings to the hall’s anteroom. The report notes the art was part of architect Cass Gilbert’s original design for the Capitol and according to the National Register of Historic Places is considered a “character-defining” feature.
“As the ‘People’s House’ our beloved Capitol is an active public building and compelling icon,” said Stephen Elliott, MNHS director and CEO. “We respect its historical significance and integrity, and also recognize that what is displayed there today and tomorrow reflects who we are as Minnesotans. MNHS places a high value on ensuring that every Minnesotan visiting the Capitol, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender or position in life, should feel welcome and respected in its spaces and, ideally, represented in its art.”
Governor Dayton had pushed replacing the Civil War depictions with artwork that better reflected the entire history of Minnesota. His proposals sparked controversy and Dayton abruptly left a meeting on the issue last week after accusing Republican lawmakers of distorting his position for political gain.
The State Capitol will reopen on Jan. 3, 2017 for the legislative session and public tours. A grand opening celebration for the public is being planned next August.