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In Emanuel Leutze’s mural, a group of pioneers and their train of covered wagons are pictured at the continental divide, looking towards the sunset and the Pacific Ocean. The border depicts vignettes of exploration and frontier mythology. Beneath the central composition is a panoramic view of their destination “Golden Gate,” in San Francisco Bay.
Emanuel Leutze’s mural celebrates the western expansion of the United States....

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

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Painted portrait of Dr. William Thornton
The Architect of the Capitol (AOC) is the builder and steward of America’s...

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Beth Burrous, Biochemist and USBG Volunteers having a discussion inside a greenhouse
Learn about the science behind the headlines and food labels at the U.S Botanic...

Our Blog

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

Top 5 Spots to Enjoy Spring on Capitol Grounds

Posted by Lori Taylor on April 8, 2013

Cherry Blossoms at the Senate Parks on the Capitol Grounds
Spring in Washington, D.C. is one of the most beautiful times to visit the nation’s Capitol; it is also the busiest. Learn about five beautiful, and less known spots to enjoy the warm weather on the Capitol Grounds.

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In Bloom: Jeepers creepers, it must be spring!

Posted by Bill McLaughlin on April 2, 2013

Phlox subulata flowers blooming
Bill McLaughlin, Plant Curator at the U.S. Botanic Garden highlights plants currently in bloom at the U.S. Capitol.

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Behind the Scrim: An Inside Look at the Supreme Court Restoration

Posted by Lori Taylor on March 26, 2013

The scaffold for the Supreme Court's restoration is wrapped in a scrim enclosure printed with a full-size photograph of the building’s façade.
Take a look behind the scrim at the restoration work underway on the U.S. Supreme Court Building's West Front façade to address deterioration due to age, weather and nature. Take a look behind the scrim at the work.

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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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