2011-12-15 / General Stories

Put Texas on your Tree with the 2011 Capitol Ornament

Annual Ornament Part of Decorations on Holiday Tree in the House of Representatives

Mrs. Julie Straus, wife of Joe Straus, Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives, today joined with legislators and their spouses from various districts across the state to decorate the holiday tree in the House chamber with ornaments representing their respective districts. Along with an ornament representing district 121, decorated by a student artist from Johnson High School, Mrs. Straus hung the 2011 Capitol Ornament on the tree.

This year’s Capitol Ornament is a replica of the brass chandeliers that hang in the legislative chambers of the Texas House of Representatives and the Senate – some of the oldest surviving light fixtures at the Capitol. Each year a new Capitol Ornament is released, featuring a different aspect of the Capitol building.

The Ornament Program was established in 1996 by Nelda Laney, wife of then-Speaker of the House James E. “Pete” Laney, to help preserve the state Capitol. Today the program is run by the State Preservation Board and led by Mrs. Straus. Proceeds support educational programs and the continued preservation of the Capitol, its historic contents and the grounds. Most recently, funds from the ornament program supported the restoration and repainting of the Capitol dome, returning it to its original color.

“The program has been such a success that it is pretty much a natural hand- off from the previous Speaker’s wives,” said Mrs. Straus. “Thanks to Nelda, today Texas’s program is the largest state ornament program in the country.”

The 2011 Capitol Ornament, along with previous ornaments going back to 2002, are available for purchase through the Texas Capitol Gift Shop, so anyone can put Texas on their tree, just like the 20’ tree in the chamber of the House of Representatives.

About the State Preservation Board

The State Preservation Board was created by the 68th Legislature to insure the preservation and use of the State Capitol, Old General Land Office building, Capitol Extension, their contents and their grounds. [ Texas Government Code, chapter 443] For more information visit Texas State Preservation Board online at www.tspb.state.tx.us.

About the Capitol Gift Shop

The Texas Capitol Gift Shop, located in the Capitol Extension, the Capitol Visitors Center and the Texas State History Museum, provide visitors with a variety of Texas souvenirs and gift items. The gift shops strive to carry Texas-made educational products relating to the Capitol as the seat of Texas government. For more information visit the Capitol Gift Shop online at www.texascapitolgiftshop.com.

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