Stewards of the iconic buildings and grounds of Capitol Hill since 1793.

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Black and white picture of the Capitol being built on Capitol Hill in 1793.
The U.S. Capitol was built atop Jenkins’ Hill, now often referred to as “...

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A virtual Map of Capitol Hill from above
View a map of the U.S. Capitol and other buildings and grounds cared for by the...

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Photo of Stephen T. Ayers, FAIA, LEED AP, Architect of the Capitol in front of the Capitol Building
On February 24, 2010, President Barack Obama nominated Mr. Ayers to serve as...

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Capitol Hill, with its rich history and iconic buildings, allows for an eclectic mix of professions. Jim Saenger, the Capitol’s Carillonneur, has perhaps one of the most unique and least visible jobs on the Hill.
Capitol Hill, with its rich history and iconic buildings, allows for an...

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Presidents in Art

Oil painting of a historical scene including several Presidents
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Art

Hardly a week goes by in which a visitor touring the Capitol doesn’t ask one of the Visitor Services staff, “Where does the president sleep?” The Capitol is, to be sure, a large, white, monumental structure in Washington, D.C., but it is not the president’s residence. The Capitol and the White House are different buildings, being, respectively, the homes of the legislative and executive branches of the federal government.

Nevertheless, the nation’s chief executive has had strong ties to the Capitol since 1793, when President George Washington selected the design for the building and laid its first cornerstone. Today, almost half of the nation’s presidents are honored in works of art in the Capitol. Each of the Capitol’s three principal floors has depictions of presidents, ranging from a colossal bust of Lincoln in the first-floor Crypt to busts and portraits on the third floor of the Senate extension.

Not surprisingly, George Washington is the most frequently depicted subject, appearing nearly two dozen times in statues, busts, framed portraits, murals, and even a stained glass window. Nine works represent Abraham Lincoln; Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and James Garfield are among other presidents depicted multiple times. The greatest concentration of presidents is in the Rotunda, where nine statues, two framed history paintings, the canopy fresco, and two scenes in the frescoed frieze depict men who served as president—five of them being George Washington.

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