On February 24, 2010, President Barack Obama nominated Mr. Ayers to serve as...


The United States Botanic Garden hosts children between the ages of three and...

Painting and Plaster

Architect of the Capitol's (AOC) teams of plasterers ensure the unique historic fabric of the buildings on Capitol Hill is preserved while the modern needs of Congress are served.

In use since the ancient Romans, even today on Capitol Hill, plaster is integral to the many buildings under the care of the AOC. This use of plaster ranges from the most basic use such as drywall to more intricate uses such as the ornate U.S. House of Representatives Cannon House Office Building Caucus Room.

On the Job

The Plaster Leader for the House Office Buildings day shift, Shirlon "Elvis" Maynard and his team are responsible for nearly every wall and ceiling in the House Office Buildings. This includes projects such as finishing drywall installed in renovated spaces, touch-ups during office moves and detailed ornamental plastering that is a unique and rare art.

AOC Plasterers help the Canon House Office Building maintain its iconic stature.

AOC Plasterers help the Canon House Office Building maintain its iconic stature.

According to Maynard, ornamental plastering is such a rare art that when a 1992 fire destroyed historic spaces within England's Windsor Castle, ornamental plasters had to be brought from around the world as part of the restoration efforts a few years later.

"Anyone can just throw mud on a wall," said, Maynard. "It is an art to do it. It is hard work and you don’t learn it overnight. We need to create an apprenticeship program to help cultivate a next generation of plasterers to ensure we have the manpower to maintain this historic building."

Watch video below for a behind the scenes look at how AOC's painters care for the ornate walls of the Library of Congress: