Guests at the dedication of the Thomas Edison statue in the Capitol on Wednesday got a sneak peak — by mistake.
Five minutes before the start of the Statuary Hall ceremony, the fabric covering the statue accidentally dropped.
Members of the Capitol Police Honor Guard then took a few minutes to try and get it back on.
While the crowd laughed as the guards struggled to refit the sheet, a guard lifted his hand, jokingly implying that people shouldn’t look.
By the time Speaker Paul D. Ryan kicked off the event 15 minutes later, Edison was fully covered once again.
Every state contributes two statues to the Capitol collection. In 2015, Ohio decided to replace a statue of former Gov. William Allen with one of Edison.
The Ohio Historical Society held a statewide poll on Allen, also a former congressman and senator, which showed that many Ohioans objected to him in part due to his pro-slavery positions. He was also openly critical of President Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War.
Ohio’s junior senator, Republican Rob Portman, greeted the room Wednesday, saying that he loves having fellow Buckeyes in town.
“The people of Ohio made this decision,” Portman said. “I will say, it was not an easy decision. We have a lot of remarkable Ohioans to choose from … but I think they got it right.”
The rest of the Ohio delegation also attended.
Edison was born Thomas Alva Edison in 1847 in Milan, Ohio. He died at age 84 in West Orange, New Jersey.
“He embodies the spirit of our state,” Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown said, before listing other notable Ohioans and innovations across the state.
“He lives on in the soul of the people of the state,” Brown added.
Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur added a list of “early hardships” Edison faced — including being home-schooled, failing his college exams and being fired from his first jobs.
“Your state’s got a lot to be proud of. Cream of the crop right here today,” Ryan said.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell noted that Edison had connections to New Jersey, as well as other states. “The Buckeyes just seriously upped the ante with this bronze statue,” he said. “So I’m staying out of that.”
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, McConnell and Ryan, were joined by Ohio state House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger in unveiling the statue.
And for the (second) first time, the crowd saw the new Edison statue standing in Statuary Hall.