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
Programs & Events

U.S. Botanic Garden Orchids Gain 600 New Siblings

By devin dotson | August 6, 2019

This newly donated collection — the second largest single donation in U.S. Botanic Garden (USBG) history — adds to the rich heritage and importance of the USBG's orchid collection. The donation came from orchid grower Joe Francis, who lives in northern Virginia.

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.

Programs & Events

Cool Tools: Capitol Materials Cart

By erin courtney | June 5, 2019

The new U.S. Capitol Materials Cart Program showcases a variety of AOC trades, including masonry, sheet metal, paint and wood-crafting. The cart's trays allow Capitol visitors to see and touch elements of the building often out of reach or hidden to an untrained eye.

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 cast iron of the U.S. Capitol Dome, dances every day? While her limbs don't move, the entire structure atop the U.S. Capitol moves in a slow circle. How is this possible?

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.