Free Fridays: Stay Cool While Touring the Arkansas State Capitol

Kerry Kraus

When it’s 100 degrees outside, the cool marble floors and walls of the Arkansas State Capitol in Little Rock  sound so inviting. If you haven’t been to the Capitol in a while, or you’ve never been, it’s worth a visit. In addition to being the seat of Arkansas government, it has an amazing treasure trove of artifacts, exhibits and history. It also has wireless Internet if you just can’t leave home without Internet access.

The details in the building alone make for an interesting. In addition to the marble, there is the stained glass interpretation of the Great Seal of the State of Arkansas adopted by the state legislature in 1874; photo galleries past governors, and the architectural features such as the faux painted “marble“ columns in the House Chamber and the symbols illustrating the principles of justice on the ceiling frieze in the Old Supreme Chamber.  Don’t forget to look up at the intricate work in the rotunda.

Two of the most notable “details” in the building are the rotunda chandelier and the bronze front doors. The Mitchell-Vance Company of New York made the light fixture that was installed in 1913. It is suspended by a 73-foot chain and weighs more than 4,000 pounds. It can be lowered for cleaning. The six solid bronze doors, purchased from Tiffany’s of New York in 1910 at a cost of $10,000, are worth more than $250,000.

Four exhibit cases in the north and south wings feature changing exhibits interpreting Arkansas’s history. A current display highlights the 75-year history of the Natural Resources Conservation Service in Arkansas entitled Helping People Help the Land.

Explore Arkansas’s diverse heritage while staying cool at the Arkansas State Capitol.

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