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

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One of the four Olmsted lanterns on the west side of the U.S. Capitol Grounds, restored in 2020.


Olmsted Lanterns Restoration

The large bronze and glass lanterns are mounted on stately sandstone piers with intricately carved sandstone caps.
History & Discoveries

Nearly Nine Million Visitors Later

By sharon gang | November 30, 2012

December 2 has been an important anniversary at the U.S. Capitol since 1863 when the final section of the Statue of Freedom was installed atop the dome. The date has signified another important anniversary since 2008 when the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center opened for business.

History & Discoveries

Capturing Bartholdi Fountain

By aoc curator | November 26, 2012

Each month AOC’s photography branch will break down an iconic photo of Capitol Hill and share tips and tricks for snapping beautiful images at the Capitol. This month AOC photographer Susanne Bledsoe walks us through a shot of Bartholdi Fountain in Bartholdi Park on the Capitol Grounds.

History & Discoveries

Lincoln and the Capitol

By matt guilfoyle | November 9, 2012

Today, one cannot walk far in the U.S. Capitol without seeing a likeness or connection to President Abraham Lincoln and the tumultuous period he served in Congress and the White House. A good place to begin walking in his footsteps is outside on the East Front in the shadow of the Capitol Dome.

Programs & Events

Capturing Autumn

By aoc curator | October 24, 2012

Michael Dunn, Architect of the Capitol's (AOC) chief of photography, draws upon his many years of experience to share tips for photographing the U.S. Capitol grounds in fall.

Behind the Scenes

While You Were Sleeping – AOC Masons at Work

By lori taylor | October 18, 2012

Masons working at the Architect of the Capitol get the campus ready for another day before the rest of the employees on Capitol Hill even wake. They have a small window of time very early in the day to complete any tasks that may interfere with visitors or the work of staff.

Programs & Events

One Team, One Mission, One Day

By sharon gang | September 28, 2012

Presidential inaugural ceremonies at the United States Capitol take a team effort to pull together, and planning for the event begins as soon as the previous Inauguration ends. Take a behind-the-scenes look at AOC's role in this event, including platform construction and a materials infographic.

Behind the Scenes

Saving Life & Limb: AOC Arborists

By franklin bradley | September 25, 2012

AOC's Capitol Grounds and Arboretum team cares for more than 4,500 trees that fill the U.S. Capitol Grounds with shade and shelter for wildlife and that frame the U.S. Capitol as part of Olmsted’s master plan.

History & Discoveries

Master Illusionists of Capitol Hill

By matt guilfoyle | August 31, 2012

The men and women who comprise the Architect of the Capitol painting craft across Capitol Hill are master illusionists ensuring the buildings inspire all who visit with their grandeur and beauty. Find out how our painters use tricks of the trade to turn wood into marble and metal into wood.

History & Discoveries

Path to Capitol During the Civil War

By matt guilfoyle | August 28, 2012

Those commuting to Washington, D.C., via the Virginia Railway Express (VRE) traverse places forever connected by events that occurred more than 150 years ago during the Civil War. Follow the path into the city beginning with the Battle of Kettle Run at Bristoe Station.

History & Discoveries

A Most Magnificent Ruin: The Burning of the Capitol during the War of 1812

By aoc curator | August 22, 2012

In retaliation for the Americans' recent burning of the Canadian capital at York (Toronto), British troops descended on Washington, D.C., to set fire to much of the city. Follow the August 1814 path the British took to burn the U.S. Capitol and learn more about damage done to this historic building.

History & Discoveries

Meeting a Capitol Artist

By sharon gang | August 14, 2012

Sharon Gang, Marketing and Communications Manager for the Capitol Visitor Center, describes her experience meeting Jimilu Mason, an American artist with works on display at the U.S. Capitol building.

History & Discoveries

In Pictures: A Green Roof Comes Alive

By aoc curator | August 6, 2012

What had previously been an unusable outdoor tennis court on the Dirksen Senate Office Building roof has been transformed by plantings, drought-resistant and stays green all year long. View photos of the steps along the way and the final aerial image which shows a special design the pathways make.

History & Discoveries

AOC Trailblazer: Georgia Shaw

By kristen frederick | July 12, 2012

Georgia Shaw was the first woman hired by the AOC as a draftsman, leading to a fulfilling 29-year career with the agency. After Georgia passed, her daughter honored her mother’s legacy by including the AOC’s logo on the memorial plaque that marks her grave.

Doing Good

Doing Good: Riding and Raising for Research and Treatment

By kristen frederick | June 8, 2012

This doing good story is of an Architect of the Capitol employee who makes a meaningful difference through an annual bike-a-thon supporting the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. In 2011, he was one of more than 5,500 cyclists rode in the event through 46 towns across Massachusetts.