Thursday, September 15, 2011

Helen Keller (Capitol Visitor Center)

I've already posted about the National Statuary Hall Collection, but I thought I should follow up with one more statue. Helen Keller, whose statue is now in the Capitol Visitor Center, is one of two statues representing Alabama. Keller was deaf and blind at an early age, and this statue depicts a linguistic epiphany at a water spout: "Her expression of astonishment shows the moment when she and [her childhood teacher and lifelong companion] Annie Sullivan first communicated, by touch, the word 'water.'" (This episode has been made famous by the play The Miracle Worker.)

The base contains a relief sculpture of Keller's Alabama home with English and Braille inscriptions - and an inspiring quotation from Helen Keller herself: "The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched, they must be felt with the heart."

For more on Helen Keller, see this plaque (here) and the tomb of Keller and Sullivan (here).

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