Nebraska will soon have two ‘first’s in Washington, D.C. It will be the first state to replace both its statues at the U.S. Capitol, and it will be the first state to immortalize a Native American and a female with its new statues.
Dr. Sara Crook of Peru State College spoke to the Nebraska City Rotary on Feb. 27 about the statues states have donated to the U.S. Capitol.
Nebraska’s current statues honor J. Sterling Morton and William Jennings Bryan.
Both were given to the Capitol by the state of Nebraska in 1937, said Crook.
Crook said that the Bryan statue is set to be replaced with one of Chief Standing Bear, which will be installed in May.
This statue is a duplicate of one by sculptor Ben Victor that is on display on Centennial Mall in Lincoln, said Crook.
The Morton statue, which is located just outside the Capitol Visitor’s Center, is scheduled to be replaced in May 2020 with one of Willa Cather that will be created by Nebraska artist Littleton Alston.
Crook said The Nebraska Commission on Indian Affairs will oversee the installation of the Standing Bear statue and the subsequent removal of the Bryan sculpture.
She said two proposals to bring the Bryan statue back to Nebraska have been submitted.
Gov. Pete Ricketts will announce where the Bryan statue will end up soon.
The Nebraska Hall of Fame is in charge of delivering the Cather statue to Washington, D.C., and bringing the Morton sculpture back to Nebraska.
Fundraising is currently underway to cover transportation costs, the cost of a rededication ceremony when the statue arrives at its final destination, and  the costs for educational materials explaining Morton’s contributions to Nebraska, said Crook.
“I hope that Nebraska City would consider bringing J. Sterling Morton back,” she said.
The Nebraska Hall of Fame, acting as the Willa Cather National Statuary Hall Selection Committee, will be sending out a Request for Proposal, RFP, sometime early summer statewide for communities to indicate their interest and level of financial support to have the Morton statue returned to their community, said Crook.  
The proposal should come from an established organization, such as a governmental entity or reputable organization, with a plan for the statue’s relocation and some possibility for raising funds for the costs of transporting the statue back to Nebraska, and holding a “homecoming” dedication, she added.
The proposal would be remitted to the Nebraska Hall of Fame, again acting as the Willa Cather National Statuary Hall Selection Committee.
The Nebraska City Rotary Club meets at noon Wednesday at the Eagles Club, 600 1st Corso. Guests pay $9 for lunch.
The program for tomorrow (March 6) is scheduled to be Dr. Larry Falk, who will discuss  the National Feeder Watch Program.