Delve deeper into the stories behind the people, art, history and grounds.

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This 1873 photograph shows how the USBG's first Conservatory had grown from a single Victorian greenhouse to this large, five-part Conservatory with 14 support greenhouses.

History & Discoveries

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

For 200 years, the U.S. Botanic Garden has been showcasing plants to visitors from around the globe. Originally proposed by George Washington to establish a place for Americans to learn about useful
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.

Behind the Scenes

Preparing for the Moment Opportunity Knocks

By erin.nelson | April 10, 2019

Employee spotlight on an Architect of the Capitol elevator mechanic who started as a night shift laborer in the U.S. Capitol building and has continued to rise through the ranks by participating in on-the-job training and taking agency-sponsored courses.

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.

Behind the Scenes

We Dig Technology

By erin.courtney | March 26, 2019

There's a cool tool that enables the Architect of the Capitol (AOC) to quickly respond to requests to dig on the U.S. Capitol grounds. It has eight receiving antennas making it easier for the person operating the locator to get a signal from buried utility lines as deep as 15 feet.

History & Discoveries

Preserving Historic Windows and Doors

By kristen.frederick | February 12, 2019

The preservation of the Cannon House Office Building's historic windows and doors allows the building to retain much of its original character and charm, while increasing the building's functionality for those who work and visit within its walls. Learn more about the process.

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.

History & Discoveries

Revealing a Tiled Treasure

By kristen.frederick | December 18, 2018

How a successful immigrant family left their mark on the U.S. Capitol campus, and Architect of the Capitol's work to clean and preserve a historic treasure: the Cannon House Office Building basement rotunda with a Guastavino tile vaulted ceiling intact as it was originally constructed in 1907.

Behind the Scenes

Reclaiming an Ordinary Day

By erin.courtney | November 27, 2018

A story of AOC employees coming together to improve safety on the U.S. Capitol campus for everyone: The Capitol Grounds and Arboretum uses a management tool to track vehicles owned and operated by the agency. The success of this fleet tracker system is leading to more improvements.

From the Architect

Architect's Notebook: One of My Favorite Things

By stephen.t.ayers | November 16, 2018

While Architect's Notebook is often used to write about architectural features found on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., this time it's about Stephen Ayers' favorite and most important part of this organization: AOC employees! More specifically, their giving and generous spirit.

Doing Good

U.S. Botanic Garden Helps Veterans with Urban Farming

By devin.dotson | November 6, 2018

Armed to Urban Farm is a new program presented by the U.S. Botanic Garden and the National Center for Appropriate Technology to teach veterans about urban farming careers providing opportunities for military veterans that combine classroom sessions with farm tours and hands-on activities.

Programs & Events

A 'Noble' Decision in Oregon: Selecting the Capitol Christmas Tree

By jim.kaufmann | November 1, 2018

The Architect of the Capitol selects the annual U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree in consultation with the United States Forest Service. Follow along as our Director of Capitol Grounds and Arboretum travels to the Willamette National Forest in Oregon to select the 2018 tree.

History & Discoveries

Artfully Yours, John Adams

By sarah.davis | October 30, 2018

Similar to many other Founding Fathers, John Adams appears in several pieces of art throughout the United States Capitol. He played a large role in the Declaration of Independence, and art involving the signing of this document is where he can be found the most.

History & Discoveries

Evolution of Women in Art at the U.S. Capitol

By michele.cohen | July 17, 2018

An in-depth look at the evolution of women in art at the U.S. Capitol. First appearing primarily as allegorical figures representing ideals, not individuals. Later, as women took on more prominent positions in society and won basic rights, greater opportunities and visibility have led to more.