The Ohio Statehouse is more than just a monument to the state’s past. It’s where history actually happens. While it was completed in 1861, 150 years later, the building serves both as a place of learning and the state’s working seat of government, and when visitors come, they can experience the state’s rich history and witness the making of history through the modern lawmaking process.
Under the leadership of the Capitol Square Review and Advisory Board, which is headed by Chairman Sen. Richard Finan and Executive Director William Carleton, the Ohio Statehouse hosts a variety of special events, re-enactments, exhibits and educational programs for the community. In addition, CSRAB hosts nearly 90,000 tour visitors each year. It’s through these programs that Ohioans have the opportunity to learn about the history of the building, events and the people who have come to serve.
The CSRAB has also led the Capitol Square restoration master plan, which began in October 1989. The senate building and atrium restoration projects were completed in 1992, and the statehouse became the full focus of the project in 1993 and was completed three years later. Throughout the restoration project, the agency pushed for historical accuracy whenever possible, which wasn’t easy or inexpensive. Skeptics were educated on the importance of historical accuracy, and it outlasted the detractors and political winds of the time. In the rotunda, visitors can now experience a reproduction of the 1849 stained-glass Seal of Ohio skylight. The first piece of artwork commissioned for the statehouse, William Powell’s “Perry’s Victory,” was returned to its original location in the rotunda. This restoration project continues to serve as the national standard.
Because the CSRAB is also passionate about educating young people about Ohio history and the legislative process, the agency led the way to create an education center on the statehouse’s ground floor. The center features displays and hands-on computer kiosks and serves more than 80,000 visitors each year, continuing to inspire the next generation of public servants. The CSRAB also helped lead a $2.75 million renovation of the Statehouse Museum, which opened in 2009.
The true test of the CSRAB’s positive impact on Central Ohio is to imagine how much poorer the community would be without it.
How to reach: Capitol Square Review and Advisory Board, (614) 752-9777 or www.csrab.state.oh.us