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

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.

Behind the Scenes

Making Heads Safer, One Bump Cap at a Time

By cristin obrien | July 11, 2018

Hard hats are designed to protect from falling objects, not bumps in narrow spaces. A bump cap resembles an elongated baseball cap with a short brim. Inside are squares of gray foam in a checkerboard pattern. This lightweight cap is the key to head protection in tight spaces at the U.S. Capitol.

History & Discoveries

Capitol Lyrics: "America the Beautiful"

By sarah davis | July 3, 2018

The lyrics of this patriotic song are found easily at the U.S. Capitol. Once inside the building, a portion of "America the Beautiful" by Katharine Lee Bates can be found written in the Cox Corridors of the south wing. It is also played every July 4th from the Taft Memorial and Carillon.

History & Discoveries

Profile in History: Job W. Angus

By franklin bradley | June 28, 2018

A profile story on Job W. Angus, who built multiple structures for ceremonies held for Abraham Lincoln's time as president in Washington, D.C. from his inauguration ballroom to the catafalque for his Lying in State.