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.

Projects

Olmsted Lanterns Restoration

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

Behind the Scenes

U.S. Capitol Clean-up

By aoc staff | January 15, 2021

Hear from a few employees about the incredible effort they and their teams put forward in the aftermath of the Capitol breach on January 6, 2021.

History & Discoveries

Meigs' Miniatures: The Story of the Tiny Doors in the U.S. Capitol

By erin nelson | July 14, 2016

Guesses for what is behind the Capitol Building's smallest doors are as varied as the architectural details that encompass the Capitol campus. The correct explanation for their existence involves Christmas Eve, the Library of Congress and engineer Montgomery Meigs.

Behind the Scenes

By the Numbers: Presidential Inauguration 2021

By erin nelson | January 4, 2021

Every four years Americans cast their vote for president in November and watch as the newly elected president takes the oath of office the following January. Architect of the Capitol (AOC) staff also spend these months preparing for the inauguration at the U.S. Capitol.

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.

History & Discoveries

How The Crypt Got Its Name

By aoc curator | March 4, 2013

Is anyone buried in the U.S. Capitol? The term "crypt" has long referred to a space beneath the main floor of a church or a chamber in a mausoleum. For many of us it suggests somber, stony silence and perhaps dusty coffins. The Capitol Crypt, however, is a different thing altogether.

History & Discoveries

The Lincoln Catafalque in the U.S. Capitol

By aoc curator | April 15, 2015

To commemorate the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s death, AOC Curator Barbara Wolanin details the days he lay in state at the U.S. Capitol.

History & Discoveries

The Liberty Cap in the Art of the U.S. Capitol

By aoc curator | January 29, 2013

The liberty cap was the symbol of freedom and liberty commonly used in the 19th century and is seen in many places in the United States Capitol.

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.

History & Discoveries

Around the Clocks

By sarah davis | December 31, 2015

All eyes are on the clocks as we countdown on New Years Eve. These clocks around the Capitol campus also get plenty of attention throughout the rest of the year.

History & Discoveries

Capitol Illumination

By franklin bradley | March 12, 2013

The Architect of the Capitol works to make the United States Capitol dome, an enduring symbol of democracy recognized throughout the world, visible to all throughout the night. Learn more about this history of the lighting of this iconic building and the area called "tholos."

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.

History & Discoveries

Haunted Halls of Congress: 5 Creepy Capitol Legends

By erin courtney | October 21, 2016

Given that the United States Capitol was once expected to be the final resting place for George Washington, replete with a crypt, should we be surprised that multiple Capitol-related ghost stories exist? Discover the myths, mysteries and folklore of this historic American building.

Projects

Olmsted Lanterns Restoration

By kate holder | February 4, 2021

The large bronze and glass lanterns are located just off Garfield Circle and Peace Circle.

History & Discoveries

Windows of Capitol Hill

By stephen t ayers | January 22, 2013

Architect of the Capitol Stephen T. Ayers reflects on the almost 600,000 square feet of windows – of all different shapes, size and age – cared for by the AOC.