Historic preservation on one level is understanding and appreciating history and what it teaches us about ourselves. However, preservation also means taking action.

For the Architect of the Capitol (AOC), "it's the process of maintaining and preserving our heritage assets, which at the U.S. Capitol include the buildings, grounds, memorials, monuments, statuary, artwork, furniture, chandeliers, mirrors and even historic plant species at the Botanic Garden," says Mary Oerhlein, Historic Preservation Officer.

Historic Preservation: U.S. Capitol Campus

Because the U.S. Capitol and most of the other buildings under the jurisdiction of the AOC are working office buildings, AOC employees must be mindful that their work to support the occupants does not damage or destroy the parts of the buildings that are architecturally or historically significant.

Oerhlein, offers a simple explanation for why historic preservation matters to every AOC employee. "As the most important building in the country and the symbol of our democratic nation, the U.S. Capitol needs to be here 500 years from now," she said. "We need to be conscious of what we do every day that could impact the life of the building."

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Revealing a Tiled Treasure

The year is 1881. In September, U.S. President James Garfield has unexpectedly died due to complications from a thwarted assassination attempt that occurred in July. A day later, Chester A.

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