Photograph of people walking outside on a Self-Guided Tour of Capitol Hill
Visitors can tour many highlights on Capitol Hill without registering.


The Architect of the Capitol’s challenge is unique – maintaining aging, iconic buildings; adapting state-of-the-art technology; and increasing responsiveness to environmental, security and safety considerations in a rich historical setting.
The Architect of the Capitol's challenge is unique – maintaining aging, iconic...


Scene "Cortez and Montezuma at Mexican Temple" from the Frieze of American History in the Capitol Rotunda
AOC's Matt Guilfoyle investigates the myth of the Mayan Calendar at the U....

News & Notices

First Nail Ceremony Kicks off Inauguration Construction

September 21, 2012

On September 20, 2012, Architect of the Capitol Stephen T. Ayers, FAIA, LEED AP, joined members of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies to drive in the “First Nail” marking the beginning of construction of the 2013 Presidential Inaugural platform. Ayers kicked off the event by saying that, “It is a tremendous honor to be a part of this historic event. The Architect of the Capitol’s involvement dates back to the 1860’s when the Presidential Inauguration began to involve more public participation, and arrangements were made to make the event more accessible to the people...

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Master Illusionists of Capitol Hill

August 31, 2012

AOC Capitol jurisdiction decorative painters create a faux marble fireplace.
Turing wood into marble, metal into wood, one dimensional into three dimensional; these are all “tricks” of the trade for the painters of the Architect of the Capitol. “We make a lot of things look like something they are not,” said Cori Wright, assistant supervisor painter and decorator for the Capitol Building (and 2012 Winner of the Washington Post “Peeps Show” — dioramas made from Peeps marshmallows). “Or we make something that has been put into a space disappear,” adds AOC “rookie” decorative painter, Ben Roberts, who joined the AOC Capitol jurisdiction this spring.   The men and women...

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Inauguration Construction

August 30, 2012

Beginning Monday, September 10, 2012, the lower terrace of the West Front of the U.S. Capitol will be closed for construction of the 2013 Presidential Inaugural stands. Fencing is being erected around the construction site and there will be no access to the Member and staff entrance on the lower terrace.   The West Front will be re-opened in mid-February 2013 following the Inaugural activities and the removal of the stands.    The Presidential swearing-in takes place on Monday, January 21, 2013, since January 20, 2013, is a Sunday. S. Con. Res 35 established January 21, 2013, as the...

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Capitol Reflecting Pool Undergoing Annual Cleaning and Inspection

June 01, 2012

The Architect of the Capitol’s Capitol Grounds staff has begun draining the Capitol reflecting pool today (June 1, 2012) in order to complete the annual cleaning and inspection. The work will take approximately two weeks.  The Capitol Reflecting Pool is located at the eastern end of the National Mall in Washington, DC. Six acres in size, it occupies over half of the area called Union Square. It is set into a plaza that includes, on the east, the Ulysses S. Grant memorial; to its west is a tree-dotted grassy area that extends to Third Streets, NW and SW. Nearby tourist destinations include...

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Capitol Curriculum: Enticing Educational Inititiatives

May 16, 2012

An education cart at the Capitol Visitor Center teaches children about the construction of the U.S. Capitol and the workers who helped to build it.
U.S. Botanic Garden “We don’t have pandas.” That’s the challenge that U.S. Botanic Garden (USBG) Education Specialist Libby Rhoads and all of the Architect of the Capitol's educators and public programmers face as they try to entice course participants to learn more about the Capitol and Grounds beyond what they see on a standard tour. Rhoads, who began working for the AOC in 2008 as an intern through the George Washington Museum Education Program, is in charge of preparing the USBG’s inspiring range of educational programs that encourage people to investigate plants and the science of...

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Delivering Extraordinary Customer Service

May 14, 2012

Senate Building Services Supervisor David Douglas and Building Inspector Sharon Garavito-Lyons meet with Darla Ripchinsky, chief clerk of the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship.
"People think we're like firemen, sitting and waiting for a fire," says Building Services Supervisor Matt Washington, who oversees the AOC Service Center for the House Office Buildings. "The reality is that we're always looking for more ways to be proactive instead of reactive." This approach is shared by the AOC Service Centers in the Senate Office Buildings and the Capitol Building. All three service centers employ building inspectors who regularly visit Member, committee and staff offices to provide proactive service, asking if their customers have any needs or questions. The inspectors...

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