AUSTIN, TX – Scenes of 19th century construction and 20th century renovation, of the famous Sunset Red granite giving rise to the seat and symbol of Texas government are the focus of Views of the Capitol: 125 Years in the Making, a new photographic exhibit organized jointly by the Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) and the Bullock Texas State History Museum. Opening August 1 at the Bullock Museum, the exhibit will display architectural drawings and photos of the Capitol on loan from TSLAC in the museum’s third floor rotunda gallery.
“The Bullock Museum is our partnerin documenting Texas history, so we’re thrilled to be collaborating with them to showcase this prized collection of visual material on the 125th anniversary of the Capitol’s opening,” said Edward Seidenberg, TSLAC’s Interim Director and Librarian.
Views of the Capitol commemorates the 1888 dedication of the Texas State Capitol. It features scenes of the Capitol construction site and examples of the original architectural drawings by Elijah E. Myers, a Detroit architect who also designed the Michigan and Colorado capitols. The state selected Myers’ drawings in May 1881 through a nationwide design competition for Texas’ new statehouse, and construction followed from 1882 to 1888.
“Introducing museum visitors to rarely seen images of the Capitol’s past –including the exquisitely rendered line drawing by the architect Elijah E. Myers –this is a story of Texas that we're proud to bring to the Bullock,” said Joan Marshall, Bullock Museum Director.
The exhibit also features a selection of stunning large-format photographs by Bill Kennedy of the Capitol’s renovation and expansion in the early 1990s. TSLAC commissioned Kennedy, an Austin-based photographer, to document the Capitol’s historic transformation, and he captured hundreds of images documenting pre-renovation spaces in the statehouse; the demolition, renovation,and restoration; and the creation of the underground extension, which added approximately 667,000 square feet to the existing 337,000 square feet of the building’s original footprint.
“I very much enjoyed photographing the spaces that most people never see or get to experience,” said Kennedy, now an associate professor of photocommunications at St. Edward’s University in Austin. “I also recall how very impressed I was, continually, with the building itself. It was built by true craftsmen, and I felt the photography needed to confirm and celebrate their effort.”
Views of the Capitol will remain on exhibit until December 31, 2013, in the third floor rotunda gallery of the Bullock Texas State History Museum, 1800 N. Congress Ave., Austin. There is no admission to the third floor rotunda, but the museum’s other exhibit galleries are subject to a charge.
On Wednesday, August 7, at 12:00 p.m., Kennedy will deliver a High Noon Talk at the Bullock Museum to share his memories of capturing the Capitol building renovation on film. This talk is also free and open to the public.
Starting in August, TSLAC will be showcasing images from Views of the Capitol on its Facebook (www.facebook.com/tslac) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/tslac) pages, as well as an additional selection of Kennedy’s photos that do not appear in the exhibit but are equally evocative of the Capitol renovation project.