The Two-Headed Calf of the Georgia State Capitol – Atlanta, Georgia - Atlas Obscura

The Two-Headed Calf of the Georgia State Capitol

Capitol Museum

A popular oddity on display in a stately building, offering a symbolic commentary.  

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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 is a stuffed, two-headed calf born in the town of Palmetto in 1987. It was 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 two-headed oddity was too popular not to be returned to display, and now resides inside a curiosity-cabinet near the entrance, alongside a two-headed snake and moon rocks brought back from the Apollo missions. 

The duality of this oddity 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 weird curiosity in a hallowed and important place—and the strange 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 two-headed calf is on the fourth floor. 

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