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U.S. Capitol Visitor Center

U.S. Capitol Visitor Center Welcome to the U.S. Capitol. The main entrance is located beneath the East Front plaza of the U.S. C Please note: Only comments pertaining to our posts will be published.

The Capitol is among the most architecturally impressive and symbolically important buildings in the world. The Senate and the House of Representatives have met here for more than two centuries. Begun in 1793, the Capitol has been built, burnt, rebuilt, extended, and restored. Today, it stands as a monument not only to its builders but also to the American people and their government. Whether you

The Capitol is among the most architecturally impressive and symbolically important buildings in the world. The Senate and the House of Representatives have met here for more than two centuries. Begun in 1793, the Capitol has been built, burnt, rebuilt, extended, and restored. Today, it stands as a monument not only to its builders but also to the American people and their government. Whether you

Operating as usual

#OTD in 1800, President John Adams signed a bill that provided $5,000 for "such books as may be necessary for the use of...
04/24/2022

#OTD in 1800, President John Adams signed a bill that provided $5,000 for "such books as may be necessary for the use of Congress." Thus establishing the Library of Congress. In 2000, the Library celebrated its bicentennial on the East Lawn of the Capitol. During the event, Librarian of Congress Dr. James H. Billington said to more thant 5,000 guests, "This is a national celebration, not just of an institution but of the role of libraries everywhere in providing free and open access to knowledge and information."

Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress

“Elmo knows that there is music in Elmo’s friends all over the country. But some of them just don’t know it yet. They do...
04/23/2022

“Elmo knows that there is music in Elmo’s friends all over the country. But some of them just don’t know it yet. They don’t know how to find their music. So that’s why Elmo needs Congress to help. Please, Congress, help Elmo’s friends find the music inside them.”

#OTD in 2002, Elmo, the joyous and lovable red muppet testified before a House Appropriations subcommittee in support of federal funding for music education and research.

Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress

You never know what you'll find on the Capitol Grounds. This week on Capitol Conversations, we will discuss the Liberty ...
04/23/2022

You never know what you'll find on the Capitol Grounds. This week on Capitol Conversations, we will discuss the Liberty Tree, the Summer House, the Peace Monument, and more.

Also, join us on Wednesday, April 27, for a live virtual tour of the Capitol Grounds (weather permitting).

We will discuss all of this and more on Zoom weekdays at 1 p.m.

Monday, April 25 – Capitol Grounds: The Living Legacy of the Liberty Tree
Tuesday, April 26 – Capitol Grounds: The Summer House
Wednesday, April 27 – Outdoor Tour
Thursday, April 28 – The Peace Monument and Its Restoration
Friday, April 29 – Capitol Grounds: Concerts

Register at https://www.visitthecapitol.gov/capitol-conversations

#uscapitolgrounds #olmsted200

Photo courtesy of the Architect of the Capitol

Capitol Grounds staff regularly prune trees to keep them healthy. Some of these trimmed branches are sent to a local woo...
04/23/2022

Capitol Grounds staff regularly prune trees to keep them healthy. Some of these trimmed branches are sent to a local woodworker who creates works of art for our online store. This decorative bowl, for example, was once part of a Japanese pagoda tree growing near the Capitol.

https://shop.visitthecapitol.gov/7-8-semi-closed-japanese-pagoda-bowl/

#uscapitolgrounds #olmsted200

Happy Earth Day! U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin helped launch the first Earth Day #otd in 1970, and was celebr...
04/22/2022

Happy Earth Day! U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin helped launch the first Earth Day #otd in 1970, and was celebrated by some 20 million Americans on 2,000 college campuses, at 10,000 primary and secondary schools, and in hundreds of communities. More than 40 years later, commemorating Earth Day attracts hundreds of millions of people in countries all over the world.

Photo courtesy of the U.S. Senate Historical Office

On October 11, 1968, Apollo 7 launched the first U.S. human crewed space flight. Nearly two years later, John "Jack" Swi...
04/22/2022

On October 11, 1968, Apollo 7 launched the first U.S. human crewed space flight. Nearly two years later, John "Jack" Swigert, Jr., of Colorado boarded Apollo 13 for a mission to the moon. Today, his statue stands in Emancipation Hall of the Capitol Visitor Center, a gift from Colorado to the National Statuary Hall Collection.

To learn more about Jack Swigert and his service to our country, join us today at 1 p.m. for Capitol Conversations.

Register at https://www.visitthecapitol.gov/capitol-conversations

Photo courtesy of the Architect of the Capitol

The Summerhouse is a hexagon-shaped red brick structure that sits on the Senate side of the Capitol’s West Front. Design...
04/21/2022

The Summerhouse is a hexagon-shaped red brick structure that sits on the Senate side of the Capitol’s West Front. Designed by landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted in 1879, the Summerhouse’s provides an open-air, shady place for visitors to rest. The Summerhouse’s stone benches can seat 22 people and an ornamental wrought-iron grille gives a delightful view of a small grotto. Originally, water was piped to the center fountain from an underground spring and cups were connected by chains to allow for drinking. Today, the fountain uses filtered city water to refresh visitors.

To learn more about how the Capitol Visitor Center is celebrating the U.S. Capitol Grounds and the legacy of Frederick Law Olmsted, please visit https://www.visitthecapitol.gov/celebrating-capitol-grounds

#uscapitolgrounds #olmsted200

Photos courtesy of the Architect of the Capitol

#DYK that the U.S. Botanic Garden is the oldest continually-operating botanic garden in the nation? Join us today at 1 p...
04/21/2022

#DYK that the U.S. Botanic Garden is the oldest continually-operating botanic garden in the nation? Join us today at 1 p.m. at Capitol Conversations to see what's blooming at the U.S. Botanic Garden.

Register at https://www.visitthecapitol.gov/capitol-conversations

Photo courtesy of the Architect of the Capitol

#DYK that the U.S. Capitol Grounds is an accredited arboretum? Designed by American landscape architect Frederick Law Ol...
04/20/2022

#DYK that the U.S. Capitol Grounds is an accredited arboretum? Designed by American landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted and now “encompassing 295 acres of landscape and infrastructure,” the grounds is home to more than 4,600 trees, all cared for by the dedicated staff of the Capitol Grounds and Arboretum.

To learn more about how the Capitol Visitor Center is celebrating the U.S. Capitol Grounds and the legacy of Frederick Law Olmsted, please visit https://www.visitthecapitol.gov/celebrating-capitol-grounds

#uscapitolgrounds #olmsted200

Photos courtesy of the Architect of the Capitol

Join the Capitol Visitor Center and U.S. Capitol Grounds and Arboretum for a virtual Q&A as part of our celebration of F...
04/19/2022

Join the Capitol Visitor Center and U.S. Capitol Grounds and Arboretum for a virtual Q&A as part of our celebration of Frederick Law Olmsted's 200th birthday on Tuesday, April 26, at 11 a.m. This program will offer an opportunity for deeper discussion on Olmsted’s legacy and impact on the U.S. Capitol landscape.

Featured panelists from the U.S. Capitol Grounds and Arboretum:

Jim Kaufmann, Director
Melissa Westbrook, Urban Forester
Emily Mueller, Plant Specialist and Entomologist

Have a question for the panel? Please submit questions in advance at [email protected]

Register for the event here: https://www.zoomgov.com/meeting/register/vJItcO2vqj8pHe0RR8UPj2kJEqFWY-gRvhI

No matter the season, the grounds of the U.S. Capitol are truly breathtaking. To learn more about how the Capitol Visito...
04/19/2022

No matter the season, the grounds of the U.S. Capitol are truly breathtaking.

To learn more about how the Capitol Visitor Center is celebrating the U.S. Capitol Grounds https://www.visitthecapitol.gov/celebrating-capitol-grounds

#uscapitolgrounds

Photo courtesy of the Architect of the Capitol

#OTD in 1967, Senator Everett Dirksen of Illinois introduced a resolution designating the marigold as the official flowe...
04/18/2022

#OTD in 1967, Senator Everett Dirksen of Illinois introduced a resolution designating the marigold as the official flower of the United States. In a florid speech on the Senate floor, he declared, "The marigold is a native of North America and can in truth and in fact be called an American flower...it beguiles the sense and ennobles the spirit of man." Dirksen, affectionately nicknamed "Mr. Marigold," introduced similar resolutions throughout the 1960s. In this photo from 1964, Senator Margaret Chase Smith presents a marigold bouquet to Dirksen. Ironically, Smith supported making the rose the national flower, which it became in 1986.

Photo courtesy of the U.S. Senate Historical Office

#DYK a giant sequoia tree was planted on the U.S. Capitol Grounds in honor of Cherokee scholar Sequoyah? Sequoyah was th...
04/17/2022

#DYK a giant sequoia tree was planted on the U.S. Capitol Grounds in honor of Cherokee scholar Sequoyah? Sequoyah was the inventor of the Cherokee alphabet. On May 26, 1966, the sequoia was planted to commemorate what was then the 200th anniversary of Sequoyah’s birth. In 1917, Oklahoma gifted a bronze statue of Sequoyah to the National Statuary Hall Collection.

To learn more about how the Capitol Visitor Center is celebrating the U.S. Capitol Grounds, please visit https://www.visitthecapitol.gov/celebrating-capitol-grounds

#uscapitolgrounds

Photo courtesy of the Architect of the Capitol

Cherry blossoms are just as iconic to Washington, D.C., as the U.S. Capitol. This week on Capitol Conversations, we will...
04/16/2022

Cherry blossoms are just as iconic to Washington, D.C., as the U.S. Capitol. This week on Capitol Conversations, we will discuss the cherry blossoms and enjoy a tour of the U.S. Botanic Garden.

We will discuss all of this and more weekdays at 1 p.m.

Monday, April 18 – Charles Bulfinch: Capitol Architect and Landscaper
Tuesday, April 19 – Looking for Lincoln: Abraham Lincoln in Capitol Art and History
Wednesday, April 20 – Capitol Grounds: Cherry Blossoms
Thursday, April 21 – The United States Botanic Garden
Friday, April 22 – Jack Swigert

Register at https://www.visitthecapitol.gov/capitol-conversations

#uscapitolgrounds #usbotanicgarden

Photo courtesy of the Architect of the Capitol

No, we didn’t chop down a tree to make this pen.  After necessary pruning of Capitol Grounds trees, our gift shop team p...
04/16/2022

No, we didn’t chop down a tree to make this pen. After necessary pruning of Capitol Grounds trees, our gift shop team provides the limbs to a local woodworker to create these one-of-a-kind pens.

A wooden pen is interesting enough, but our gift shop’s wooden pens are made fromh reclaimed wood from the cherry trees on the Capitol Grounds.

https://shop.visitthecapitol.gov/japanese-pagoda-artisan-sienna-pen/

#OTD in 2016, "for its pioneering military service, devotion to duty, and many acts of valor in the face of adversity," ...
04/16/2022

#OTD in 2016, "for its pioneering military service, devotion to duty, and many acts of valor in the face of adversity," Congress awarded the Congressional Gold Medal to the Borinqueneers, a Puetro Rican regiment of the U.S. Army. Members of this regiment bravely served and fought during World War I, World War II and the Korean War.

Original photos courtesy of the U.S. Mint and the Department of Veteran Affairs

04/16/2022

#OTD in 1862 President Abraham Lincoln signed the D.C. Compensated Emancipation Act of 1862. This bill freed enslaved people in the District and compensated owners up to $300 for each freeperson. Celebrations filled the streets of Washington, D.C. Two days later, Senator Lafayette Foster of Connecticut proudly declared, "You may strike off the bonds of every slave in the District of Columbia today."

In the months following the law's enactment, commissioners approved more than 930 petitions, granting freedom to 2,989 former enslaved people. Enslaved laborers helped build the U.S. Capitol, and a block of hand carved sandstone stands in the Capitol Visitor Center’s Emancipation Hall as a memorial to those who built a symbol of freedom, though themselves were not free.

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