Each state gets just two statues in the National Statuary Hall, and some are of people largely forgotten.
Move over, Thomas Starr King and Zachariah Chandler. It's time to make way in the Capitol for two better known sons of California and Michigan: Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford.
Statues of these relatively obscure men -- a preacher credited with saving California from becoming a separate republic during the Civil War and a Michigan senator who helped found the Republican Party -- will soon be removed from their sculpted perches inside the Capitol building.
They'll go the way of Samuel Glick, a former Kansas governor whose likeness was removed from the Capitol in 2003 and replaced by a greenish bronze statue of Dwight Eisenhower.
After Congress in 1864 created the National Statuary Hall, each state was invited to bring two statues there. The states responded by sending larger-than-life likenesses of their top citizens to be placed in the Capitol.
These marble or bronze monuments include likenesses of politicians, scientists, priests, educators, women's suffrage leaders, astronauts, Indian chiefs and inventors.
But over the years, fame has evaporated for some of them -- and states have asked to replace them with others who have made a more recent mark on history.
Barbara Wolanin, curator of the Capitol, says tourists are disappointed unless their state sculptures depict famous people.
"When kids come, they want somebody they recognize," Wolanin says. "Some of the 19th-century people might have had a lot of pull in the state at the time, but people don't really know them much now."
Donald Ritchie, associate Senate historian, says the switch-out trend shows that fame is fleeting.
"Even though you have a wonderful statue, you can be replaced," he says.
Statues of "cultural icons" have remained the most popular, Ritchie says, while politicians of long ago are not as secure here.
"They are more quickly forgotten, so some of them have been subject to recall," Ritchie says.
California plans to replace a statue of King, the preacher, with a 7-foot bronze likeness of Reagan.
After Rep. Ken Calvert, R-Calif., pushed the idea through the California Legislature, the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation selected sculptor Chas Fagan to sculpt the 40th president and former governor of California.
Fagan, a Charlotte, N.C., artist whose works include a White House portrait of former First Lady Barbara Bush and an 8-foot bronze of President George Herbert Walker Bush in downtown Houston, has just finished a preliminary 7-foot clay version of Reagan, showing him standing with his left hand on a column.
Fagan said he recently softened the expression on the statue so it was "just short of a smile" and followed Nancy Reagan's meticulous instructions to adjust the tailoring of her late husband's trousers so that the fabric doesn't break at the foot.
Fagan, who aims to finish the statue by June, recalls visiting Statuary Hall as a child. "Just imagining having a little hand in there is beyond belief," he says.
Rep. Vern Ehlers, D-Mich., started planning for a Ford statue in the Capitol shortly before the 38th president died two years ago.
Ehlers says Ford is "very deserving" of a Capitol sculpture as the only president from Michigan and because of his 25 years in Congress.
Ehlers says Chandler belongs back in the state because he was more distinguished for being mayor of Detroit than for his service in Washington, which included a brief stint as a senator and secretary of the interior.
Martin Allen, chairman emeritus of the Gerald E. Ford Foundation, which is scouting for a sculptor, says Chandler will have "a better historical home" in the Detroit Historical Museum, which has more space to tout his accomplishments.
The fate of the Glick statue was sealed after Rep. Todd Tiahrt, R-Kans., determined that none of his constituents from the Sunflower State could identify the former governor.
After gaining approval of the Kansas Legislature, raising $350,000 to pay for a new statue and selecting an artist, Tiahrt managed to swap out Glick for Eisenhower.
Other states are pondering changes of their own. Alabama is angling to switch a likeness of Jabez Lamar Monroe Curry, an educator and lawmaker, for one of Helen Keller, the deaf-and-blind author, activist and lecturer. Some Kansans also want to replace a statue of Sen. John Ingalls with one of aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart, the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean.