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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...

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A virtual Map of Capitol Hill from above
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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Photo of Musa velutina.
On February 28 at 10:30 a.m., trace the 7000-year journey of the banana from...

Our Blog

Read a blog about the art, architecture and work on the Capitol Hill written by AOC's experts.

A Cornerstone of American History

Posted by Matt Guilfoyle on March 18, 2013

The quarry at Government Island provided sandstone for the construction of the White House and the U.S. Capitol building.
AOC Public Affairs Officer Matt Guilfoyle walks in the footsteps of the masons and laborers who worked the quarry at Government Island in Aquia, Virginia, to gather stone for the U.S. Capitol more than 200 years ago.

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Capitol Illumination

Posted by Franklin Bradley on March 12, 2013

The East Front of the U.S. Capitol at Dusk
The AOC works to make the Capitol Dome, an enduring symbol of democracy recognized throughout the world, visible to all throughout the night. Learn about this history of the lighting of this iconic building.

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How the Crypt Got its Name

Posted by AOC Curator Office on March 4, 2013

The Capitol Crypt, which now houses statuary and exhibitions, was once used as an informal storage space where bicycles were parked, seen here circa 1900.
The term "crypt" has long referred to a space beneath the main floor of a church or a chamber in a mausoleum. For many of us it suggests somber, stony silence and perhaps dusty coffins. The Capitol Crypt, however, is a different thing altogether.

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U.S. Botanic Garden's Understory: Photographs of Jackie Bailey Labovitz

Posted by Ray Mims on February 26, 2013

Trout Lily in the U.S. Botanic Garden
The U.S. Botanic Garden’s Conservation & Sustainability Horticulturist, Ray Mims, takes a look at the importance of spring ephemerals, which are featured in the Garden’s current exhibit, Understory, on display now through October 14, 2013.

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America’s Greatest Engineer?

Posted by Matt Guilfoyle on February 20, 2013

Construction of Capitol extensions
Montgomery Meigs – a man who built the Capitol while helping save the Union it represents - may be America’s greatest engineer.

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Love at the Ford Building

Posted by Michael McDonald on February 14, 2013

Louise and Robert Pearl at the exact moment of their engagement in front of the Ford Building.
For 10 years, I have walked through the doors of the 3rd Street entrance to the Ford Building, never knowing that right outside those very same doors — 72 years ago — something happened that greatly influenced my life.

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