Wyoming Capitol now open for self-guided tours

Surrounded by the recently restored 1888 decorative paint, four new bronze sculptures now stand in niches in the rotunda of the Wyoming Capitol.

CHEYENNE, Wyo. -  After being closed for a four-year restoration and rehabilitation project, the Wyoming Capitol is now open for self-guided tours 8 a.m. - 5 p.m., Monday - Friday. To accommodate those attending Cheyenne Frontier Days, the Capitol will also be open extended hours on July 20 and July 27 from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

 The Capitol has undergone extensive rehabilitation to replace outdated building systems, add critical life safety infrastructure, and address public space needs, especially the need for larger meeting rooms. In order to meet the goals of the project, four construction components were included as part of the Capitol Square Project:  the rehabilitation and restoration of the Capitol replacement, relocation, and expansion of the central  utility plant; the remodel and expansion of the tunnel that connects the Capitol to the Herschler Building; and the rehabilitation and expansion of the Herschler Building. This invasive work also created the opportunity to restore the Capitol's historic features, returning the building back to its original majestic grandeur. 

 Only the Capitol portion of the Capitol Square Project is open to the public at this time. More details are available at www.wyomingcapitolsquare.com.

Removing the dropped ceiling revealed the historic column capitals and expanded the ceremonial conference room. The invasive work necessary to upgrade mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems revealed these treasures and allowed the restoration of these historic features like the column capitals, coffered ceilings, crown moldings, picture rail, and decorative paint.

On the west end of the first floor, two new large meeting rooms allow for increased public participation in policymaking. These two rooms seat approximately 50 audience members each and will be available to the elected officials and Attorney General to host events when not in use by the Legislature. Before the project, most public meeting rooms in the Capitol accommodated fewer than 20 members of the public.

Several thousand people attended the July 10 ribbon cutting.

No room in the Capitol has been more radically transformed by this project than the Historic Supreme Court Chamber. The Chamber has been returned to its original size by eliminating a partition wall and reclaiming the two-story volume and public balcony. Original features included extensive decorative painting and a stained glass lay light and chandelier, which had been moved in the 1970s but have now been restored to their original location. This magnificent and historic Chamber is now the largest meeting room in the Capitol and will seat approximately 75 members of the public.

A large part of the Convention focused on women’s suffrage, a right Wyoming women had held since 1869. It was in this Chamber that representatives enshrined women’s suffrage within the Wyoming State Constitution, becoming the first state to do so and making this one of the most historically significant chambers in the country.