Take some time to view the historical paintings in the Minnesota State Capitol, and you’re likely to learn a lot about the Civil War and past governors—and much less about other aspects of the state’s history.
The Capitol’s ongoing $272.7 million renovation has officials already talking about changes to the building. Dayton, who also questioned the portraits of former governors, said renovation makes it a ripe time for a public discussion on what type of art should be in the Capitol.
Four of the six large paintings in the governor's reception room are of Civil War events, according to the Minnesota Historical Society:
- The Battle of Gettysburg by Rufus F. Zogbaum
- The Second Minnesota Regiment at Missionary Ridge by Douglas Volk
- The Battle of Nashville by Howard Pyle
- The Fourth Minnesota Regiment Entering Vicksburg by Francis D. Millet
There are also two more in the anteroom:
- The Third Minnesota Regiment Entering Little Rock by Stanley Arthurs
- The Battle of Corinth by Edwin H. Blashfield
The only two that aren’t about the Civil War are:
- The Treaty of Traverse des Sioux by
Francis D. Millet
- Father Louis Hennepin Discovering the Falls of St. Anthony by Douglas Volk
There are also battle flags on display in the Capitol Rotunda. The Minnesota Historical Society lists 45 flags in its collection. Three of the four on display now are from the Civil War, with the fourth from the Spanish-American War.
However, Grove City Rep. Dean Urdahl (R-18A) countered that the Capitol was built by people who had been involved in the Civil War or had loved ones who were. Urdahl said other areas could be opened up for different types of art.
Do you think the Capitol needs a broader variety of artwork? Or do you think the emphasis on the Civil War is a good way to remember an important part of the state’s history? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.