Virginia State Seal

Virginia Department of Historic Resources

Commission For Historical Statues In The United States Capitol

National Statuary Hall
National Statuary Hall. © Architect of the Capitol.

The Commission for Historical Statues in the United States Capitol is charged with determining whether the Robert E. Lee statue in the National Statuary Hall Collection at the United States Capitol should be replaced and, if so, to recommend to the General Assembly as a replacement a statue of a prominent Virginia citizen of historic renown or renowned for distinguished civil or military service to be commemorated in the National Statuary Hall Collection.

The Commission consists of eight members appointed as follows: one member of the House of Delegates appointed by the Speaker of the House of Delegates; one member of the Senate appointed by the Senate Committee on Rules; two nonlegislative citizen members who are Virginia or American historians appointed by the Governor; three nonlegislative citizen members appointed upon the vote of the Commission members appointed by the Speaker, the Senate Committee on Rules, and the Governor; and the Director of the Department of Historic Resources (DHR), who serves ex officio with nonvoting privileges. The Department of Historic Resources will provide staff support to the Commission.

The Commission will also be required to (i) select a sculptor for the new statue, with preference given to a sculptor from Virginia; (ii) estimate the costs associated with the replacement of the Robert E. Lee statue, including costs related to construction and placement of the new statue, for the removal and transfer of the Robert E. Lee statue, and for any unveiling ceremony of the new statue; and (iii) recommend to the General Assembly a suitable state, local, or private nonprofit history museum in the Commonwealth for placement of the Robert E. Lee statue.

The bill requires the Commission to hold at least one public hearing prior to making any recommendation to the General Assembly on a new statue and requires the costs of the Commission’s work to be borne by the Commission from such private funds as are collected by the Commission and general funds as are appropriated by the General Assembly.

Next Meeting: Oct. 8, 2020, 10:30 a.m.

Agenda for Oct. 8 meeting.

Due to the public health emergency caused by the coronavirus pandemic, meetings will be held virtually until further notice.

Go here to register to attend the virtual meeting. Each participant must register separately. Once you register, you will receive an email with a link and telephone number.

PUBLIC COMMENT: Registration required by 12 noon, October 7, 2020

In order to officially register to give public comment, you must indicate on the registration form if you would like to speak during the public comment portion of the meeting by answering two questions: (1) What agenda item would you like to speak to, and (2) will you be speaking in support of or in opposition to that agenda item. Public comment is limited to three minutes per speaker and 90 minutes in total; the Commission will hear from the first 30 attendees to register in support of or in opposition to a stated agenda item. Registration for public comment must be completed by 12 noon, Wednesday, October 7, 2020 and is on a first-come, first-serve basis. (Due to technical capabilities with the software, public comment can only be taken from those logged in to the website through a computer or logged in to the app with an iPad or smartphone; public comment cannot be taken from those on a mobile or land line.) Anyone who registers for public comment after this deadline will not be called on during the public comment portion of the meeting.

Written comments are also accepted as official public comment; all written comments will be shared in full with Commission members prior to the meeting and will be summarized during the public comment portion of the meeting. All written public comment will also be posted in full to the Commission website. If you would like to submit written public comment, please email your comments to USCapitolCommission@dhr.virginia.gov by 12 noon Wednesday, October 7, 2020.

If you have any questions about registering for this virtual meeting, please email Stephanie Williams at Stephanie.williams@dhr.virginia.gov.

Past Meetings:

August 7:

During the August 7 meeting, the Commission recommended asking the Virginia Museum of History and Culture (VMHC) to accept the R. E. Lee statue for its collections.

July 24:

  • Video recording (1 hour, 11 minutes) of the July 24 meeting of the Commission. Note to access the recording, please use this password: rBmAP7DX
    *
  • PowerPoint that DHR Director Julie V. Langan presented at the July 24 meeting.
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  • Emailed public comments the Commission received in support and opposition to the removal of the R. E. Lee statue.

See “Links”below for more information.

Commission Members

  • Dr. Edward Ayers, Professor of New American History, University of Richmond, (Charlottesville)
  • Dr. Colita Fairfax, Professor & Honors College Senior Faculty Fellow, Norfolk State University, (Hampton)
  • Senator Louise Lucas, 18th District, (Portsmouth)
  • Dr. Fred Motley, (Danville)
  • Anne Richardson, Chief of the Rappahannock, (Indian Neck)
  • Margaret Vanderhye, (McLean)
  • Delegate Jeion Ward, 92nd District, (Hampton)
  • Julie Langan, Director, Dept. of Historic Resources, ex-officio

Meetings’ Minutes

*NOTE: Minutes posted shortly after each meeting are not official (as indicated by the word “DRAFT” at the top of the first page). Official minutes will not be posted until they are approved by the Commission  at the next meeting. Once approved by the Commission, the draft minutes will be removed from the website and the official minutes will be posted (as indicated by the removal of the word “DRAFT”).
 

Important Links:

 

Updated September 30, 2020