The Oklahoma State Capitol is a blend of old and new, both in its artwork and its architectural detail. Surrounded by working oil wells, the Greco Roman-style capitol was built between 1914 and 1917. Blueprints called for a dome, but because of budget constraints, only a relatively flat roof was installed—interior painting created the illusion of a dome. Extensive renovations in the 1990s and early 2000s removed “modernizations” like dropped ceilings, restored elegant architectural details and added features that were intended all along, including the dome.
Stained glass, ornamental plasterwork, original oscillating fans embellished with the state seal and a large number of paintings are among the capitol’s highlights. Many paintings are relatively new, such as Mike Larsen's Flight of Spirit, which depicts five famous Oklahoma Indian prima ballerinas—a scene drawn solely from Larsen’s imagination because the first time the women appeared together in public was for the painting’s dedication in 1991. On the second floor, the Governor’s Art Gallery showcases changing exhibitions from Oklahoma artists; the first floor also contains galleries with rotating exhibits.
An excellent free booklet outlines a self-guided tour as well as fast-track and in-depth options. Guided tours are available on weekdays. Plan on spending 45 minutes to an hour here. The capitol is open seven days a week, but the tourism information center and gift shop are closed on weekends, and some public rooms may be closed as well.