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Section, Revised Dome Design for U.S. Capitol. Pen, Ink and watercolor by Thomas U. Walter, 1859.

History & Discoveries

Dancing by Dawn's Early Light

Did you know that the 15,000-pound bronze Statue of Freedom, standing atop the 9 million pounds of cast iron of the U.S. Capitol Dome, dances every day?
History & Discoveries

Top 5 Spots to Enjoy Spring on the Capitol Campus

By aoc staff | March 29, 2022

Spring in Washington, D.C., is one of the most beautiful times to visit the nation's capital; it is also the busiest. Learn about five beautiful, and less known spots, to enjoy the warm weather near the U.S. Capitol including where you can see more than 100 cherry blossom trees.

History & Discoveries

The Architect of the Capitol Sweeps Up the Past

By Morgan Green | July 13, 2021

When Jim Kaufmann, Capitol Grounds and Arboretum Director, happened across an 1891 street-sweeping map while going through cultural landscape reports, he had no idea how simple an old map could make caring for the U.S. Capitol Grounds.

History & Discoveries

John Adams' Carriage Ride to Washington D.C., in 1800

By franklin bradley | February 10, 2021

President John Adams issued a letter to all federal agencies on May 15, 1800, directing the "removal of the public offices, clerks and papers" from the capital city of Philadelphia. In that single sentence, Adams started the final move of the U.S. government to its permanent home, the newly created city of Washington, in the District of Columbia.

History & Discoveries

Honoring the U.S. Capitol Guides Buried in Congressional Cemetery

By blake lindsey | December 15, 2020

Several of the men who first led tours through the U.S. Capitol are buried in Congressional Cemetery. In December 2019, a group from the Capitol Visitor Center Social Committee gathered at the cemetery to place markers on the graves of these guides and learn more about their lives.

History & Discoveries

U.S. Botanic Garden at 200: Deeply Rooted, Branching Outward

By devin dotson | July 23, 2020

For 200 years, the United States Botanic Garden (USBG) has been showcasing plants to visitors from around the globe. The USBG was originally proposed by George Washington to establish a place for Americans to learn about useful and engaging plants.

History & Discoveries

Charles De Witt: Founding Farmer, A Life of Service

By franklin bradley | July 23, 2019

Starting in the 1650's, the De Witt family settled in and around Kingston, New York, and was prominent in the early history of Ulster County. Colonel Charles De Witt's career extended far beyond his home county, including being named as delegate to the Continental Congress.

History & Discoveries

Six Special Rooms by Brumidi

By sarah davis | July 2, 2019

Brumidi worked on an impressive number of projects in the U.S. Capitol, including: the House Committee on Agriculture room, Lyndon B. Johnson Room, Senate Reception Room, the President's Room, the Committee on Naval Affairs room and the Senate Committee on Military Affairs room.

History & Discoveries

Dancing by Dawn's Early Light

By franklin bradley | May 21, 2019

Did you know that the 15,000-pound bronze Statue of Freedom, standing atop the 9 million pounds of cast iron of the U.S. Capitol Dome, dances every day?

History & Discoveries

Rediscovering Blackjack

By erin courtney | May 14, 2019

During a recent renovation at the U.S. Capitol Building, members of the Architect of the Capitol uncovered a long-forgotten painting of the famous horse, Blackjack. During his tenure, Blackjack took part in the funerals of Presidents Hoover, Kennedy and Johnson as well as General MacArthur.

History & Discoveries

Personal Artifacts of a Capitol Artist

By aoc curator | May 6, 2019

Several artifacts were passed down through Brumidi's family and given to the Architect of the Capitol over a span of years beginning around 1961. The items include a nickel-plated oval box, a Bible, a small framed photograph, a prize medal, a sterling silver fruit knife and two napkin rings.

History & Discoveries

Jefferson Finds Capitol Inspiration in City of Light

By franklin bradley | April 3, 2019

Thomas Jefferson, inspired by skylights he saw in Paris, prevailed upon the Architect of the Capitol to include something similar in the U.S. Capitol's new chamber for the House of Representatives. However, all the skylights came to an untimely end.

History & Discoveries

Cast in a New Light: The Capitol Bronze Shop (1855-1859)

By kate holder | February 8, 2019

At a critical time in the U.S. Capitol's evolution, there was a Capitol Bronze Shop established by Montgomery Meigs. From 1855 to 1859, the shop helped serve the needs of the Capitol Extension, a major expansion project to accommodate a growing Congress in Washington, D.C.

History & Discoveries

Cool Cannon Construction Finds

By kristen frederick | January 3, 2019

During the process of renewing the Cannon House Office Building, workers have found hidden treasures that had been lost or discarded by the laborers who constructed the building more than 100 years ago. Here's a small sampling of what has been discovered since the start of the project.