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2016 Capitol Ornament

Warner chamber doors

The colorful doors to the Old Senator (Warner) Chamber feature native designs and a Thunderbird at the center. 

Capitol Thunderbird ornament

The 2016 Capitol ornament is based on the Thunderbird in the Warner Chamber doors.

The 2016 Office of the Capitol Commission commemorative ornament recognizes the Native American heritage of Nebraska. The Thunderbird motif is used throughout the Nebraska Capitol to represent the Native American agricultural foundation upon which Nebraska’s farmers have built a productive agricultural state. The Pawnee, Omaha, Ponca, and Otoe-Missouria people were among Nebraska’s first farmers. They cultivated corn, beans and squash in the floodplains along the Platte and Missouri rivers. Using the flow of these rivers to water their crops, these first farmers recognized the Thunderbird as a deity and giver of life. Native people believe the Thunderbird brings the rain which makes the prairie productive.
The 2016 ornament is based on the central Thunderbird figure in the Warner Legislative Chamber doors. The winged figure in these brightly colored doors has lightning bolts on his breast and wings to flap for thunder. There are several other Thunderbird designs in the Capitol, but the Warner Chamber door Thunderbird was chosen for its bright colors and accessibility to visitors. The Thunderbird ornament and other Capitol ornaments are available in the Landmark Store at the Capitol which is operated by the Nebraska State Historical Society. The Landmark Store in the Capitol is open Monday through Friday from 9:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.

Thunderbird beneath gold dome

The Thunderbird in the sky, beneath the Sower, reminds all of the importance of rain to agriculture.

thunderbird tapestry

The Thunderbird flies over native men performing the Sun Dance in this Warner Chamber tapestry..

Rotunda bracket lamp

The beautiful Art Deco rotunda bracket lamps feature a Thunderbird in the center of the sun motif.

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Capitol quick facts

  • Construction started in 1922, completed in 1932.
  • The architect was Bertram G. Goodhue.
  • There are 15 floors above ground.
  • The building is 400 feet tall.
  • It is the third Nebraska State Capitol.
  • It cost $9.8 million in 1932 dollars.

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