The State Capitol is the most frequently visited tourism destination in Frankfort, and no wonder! Not only is it the seat of state government, but it is also home to an impressive collection of public art, starting with the State Capitol building itself. It is a featured stop on three themed tours: the History Tour; the Architecture Tour; and the Sculpture Tour (with associated educational activities). Can we insert links here? The Floral Clock on the grounds of the Capitol is exciting to visit in any season, and the Governor’s Mansion contains numerous additional artistic treasures.
The pendentive murals in the Capitol Rotunda are artistic interpretations of the story of the Commonwealth’s history and heritage. You can watch a short video about them here: http://finance.ky.gov/initiatives/Pages/capitoldome.aspx If you prefer to take your time exploring the murals and learning about the symbols and allegorical figures, use the power point provided.
The elegance of the Capitol's interior was largely achieved by the generous use of white Georgia marble, gray Tennessee marble and dark green Italian marble. On axis with the rotunda, the grand corridors feature 36 imposing columns of Vermont granite and delicate art glass skylights.
Decorative lunettes above each staircase highlight the entrances to the House and Senate chambers. Painted in oils by T. Gilbert White, both depict frontier scenes with Daniel Boone. The east mural portrays Boone and his party catching their first glimpse of the Bluegrass region atop Pilot Knob in 1769. The west mural depicts the negotiations for the Treaty of Sycamore Shoals, which lead to the purchase of Cherokee land that would eventually become Kentucky.
Kentucky's legislative bodies meet in the House and Senate chambers. Both chambers continue the classical motifs of the building, incorporating scagliola (faux marble) for their decorative architectural features.
The resplendent Supreme Court room serves as the seat of the judicial branch of state government. The room is noted for its solid Honduras mahogany paneling and the elegant coffered ceiling covered in Old Dutch Metal leafing, hammered to imitate old bronze.
The State Reception Room was designed as a place for ceremonial events. The walls are decorated with pilasters finished in scagliola and murals, hand painted to resemble tapestries from the Gobelin Tapestry Guild. Original to the room, the hand carved Circassian walnut furniture was crafted to resemble 17th century French Baroque pieces.
On-Site Parking: Is available. Large groups and school tours are asked to call (502) 564- 3449 to make arrangements and get information about providing identification. Bus parking is available along Capitol Avenue in front of the Capitol building.
Open: Monday - Friday 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Saturday 10 a.m.- 2 p.m. seasonal (please call) Sunday closed
Wheelchair Access: Yes
Style of Architecture: Beaux Arts style with elements of classical architecture; a combination of Greek architecture with highly ornate elegance of French styling.
For tours or additional information about the New State Capitol, contact the tour guide's desk at (502) 564-3449.
Interested in learning more about the history and beautiful landscaping of the Capitol grounds? Print your copy of the Capitol Grounds Walking Tour Brochure (PDF - 690 KB).