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


In the late 19th century the architectural style of the Thomas Jefferson Building was said to be "Italian Renaissance." Today, it is recognized as a premier example of the Beaux Arts style, which is theatrical, heavily ornamented and kinetic. It is a style perfectly suited to a young, wealthy, and imperialistic nation in its Gilded Age.
The Library of Congress began in 1800 with a small appropriation to buy...


The Summerhouse on the Capitol Grounds surrounded by pink azalea flowers.
A few ideas to help you in planning a visit to Capitol Hill.


Photo of Capitol Hill steps.
Download a PDF of the full list.


City of Trees book cover artwork
Winter is the best time to appreciate the architecture of the historic trees...

What's New

Our Blog

A Toadally Cool Object In Exhibition Hall

Toad Box on display at the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center

Capitol Visitor Center Registrar Karin Johnston, takes an in depth look at one of her favorite artifacts currently on display in the Exhibition Hall exhibit, “Conflict and Compromise.”

As the Capitol Visitor Center’s Registrar, I’m not supposed to have favorites among the objects on display in Exhibition Hall. Nevertheless, there are some artifacts that are so much fun and so thought-provoking that they cannot be ignored. The toad box, which is currently on display as part of the “Conflict and Comprise” exhibition, is one of those objects.

For the Library of Congress’ bicentennial in 2000, Members of Congress and their constituents collaborated with the Library in Local Legacies: Celebrating America’s Roots, a project documenting American folklife and popular culture. Communities in every state worked with their senators and representatives to highlight unique local traditions and festivals.

Surely one of the most distinctive events chronicled in Local Legacies was the 2000 Toad Suck Daze celebration held in the towns of Toad Suck and Conway, Arkansas. First organized in 1982 in Toad Suck, the festival is now held annually in downtown Conway, Arkansas, during the first weekend in May. Events include music, arts and crafts, a variety of food, carnival rides, and, of course, the World Championship Toad Races.

For the World Championship Toad Races, visitors enter toads that they have brought from home or that were bred in the community for this purpose. To transport the entrants, they use toad boxes similar to the one on display in the Capitol Visitor Center’s Exhibition Hall, which is from the 2000 Toad Suck Daze celebration. Each box displays the official toad racing rules on one side and on the other, the name of the toad and its owner.

The legend behind the name of the town of Toad Suck comes from a time when steamboats traveled the Arkansas River. When the water was not deep enough, the steamboats tied up where the Toad Suck Ferry Lock and Dam now spans the river near Conway. While the captains and crew waited for the water to rise they refreshed themselves at the local tavern. People living nearby said, “They suck on the bottle ’til they swell up like toads.'”

Be sure to check out this artifact, and all the others on display in Exhibition Hall on the lower level of the Capitol Visitor Center. It is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Saturday. No passes or reservations are needed to visit the displays. For more information, go to

Blog Tags: 


Submitted by Kate (not verified) on
Man, if only Iived closer to Arkansas - I would totally be there. Kind of makes me want to go out catch a bunch of toads and make them race!!

Leave a comment

This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.