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View of the north congressional stand under construction for the 2021 inauguration.

Behind the Scenes

By the Numbers: Presidential Inauguration 2021

Much goes into the presidential inauguration at the U.S. Capitol. Here are a few numbers that help set the stage for this special day.
Behind the Scenes

Cool Tools: Plasma Cutting Machine, a Matter of Precision

By kate holder | March 10, 2020

This computer numerical control (CNC) plasma cutter is a cool tool on the U.S. Capitol campus. It allows the Sheet Metal Shop to cut parts, components and signage that it could never before do efficiently, if at all.

Programs & Events

A Christmas Spruce from the Land of Enchantment

By jim kaufmann | November 6, 2019

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 Carson National Forest in New Mexico to select the 2019 tree.


Fire Egress at the Library of Congress

By erin nelson | September 3, 2019

The Architect of the Capitol's Construction Division with the support of the AOC Library Buildings and Grounds jurisdiction worked together to complete the Fire Door Improvements project in the Thomas Jefferson Building, improving fire safety within this historic space.

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 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.

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.