Tucked under the glimmering gold dome of the Georgia State Capitol building in Atlanta is a curiosity that has many visitors seeing double. Proudly on display next to the introduction to the Capitol Museum are stuffed, conjoined twin (two heads, one body) calves born in the town of Palmetto in 1987. They were originally introduced alongside other taxidermied animals in a display that celebrated the state’s natural resources, and that has since been removed from the museum. The beloved animals were too popular not to be returned to display, and now reside inside a curiosity-cabinet near the entrance, alongside a conjoined (two heads, one body) snake and moon rocks brought back from the Apollo missions.
The duality of these animals inside the Georgia Capitol building is not lost on many visitors, who will also be passing statues of Confederate figures, such as Alexander Hamilton Stephens, the Vice President of the Confederacy and Georgia Congressman, and paintings of civil rights leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner Martin Luther King Jr. Outside, on the capitol grounds, statues of segregationist and slave-holding governors stand beside one of humanitarian and president Jimmy Carter (Atlanta’s second Nobel Peace Prize winner).
Visitors to the Georgia State Capitol are surprised and often delighted at this uncommon sight in a hallowed and important place—and the mystical symbolism it suggests.
Know Before You Go
The Georgia Capitol Museum is open Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for free, self-guided tours. The conjoined twin calf heads (two heads, one body) is on the fourth floor.