University Museums

Title: The Marston Muses
Name: Cast
Date: c. 1988
Medium: Bronze and Wood
Dimensions: 5 × 4 × 9 1/2 in. (12.7 × 10.2 × 24.1 cm)
Classification: Sculpture
Credit Line: Gift of the College of Engineering in the Art on Campus Collection, University Museums, Ames IA
Object Number: U2003.4
More Information
Marston Hall was constructed in the late 1800s and early 1900s to rival engineering buildings on other Mid-west land-grant campuses. Located on central campus, west of Beardshear Hall, Marston epitomizes neoclassical design. The Marston Muses have long signified the divergent paths engineering students may choose to follow while obtaining their degree from Iowa State University. The Muses, designed in keeping with the neoclassical architecture, patiently watch over the hustle and bustle of central campus. Each of the four Muses represents a division of engineering study offered in the early 1900's. The first Muse, representing mining engineering, carries a lantern with a large block of ore and a pick at her feet. The second Muse signifies civil engineering by holding a level and sextant. The third Muse bears the tools needed for mechanical engineers. The final Muse is a representation of electrical engineering with a static producing ball in her right hand. "The Marston Muses has become the logo that distinguishes the College of Engineering on the ISU campus, representing scholarship, creativity, science with practice, and education for all who seek it."

Herman L. Deaton was commissioned in 1988 by the College of Engineering to create a sculpture depicting the four Muses. The resulting statue, seen here, stylizes the Muses in an upswept curvilinear design.