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U.S. Capitol

Posted by on January 31, 2012

Field Trip: U.S. Capitol
Location: East Capitol Street Northeast
Washington, DC
Contact: 202-226-8000
Grades: 4th – High School
Admission: FREE

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About the Museum:

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.

The Senate and House Galleries are open to visitors whenever either body is in session. In addition, the House Gallery is open from 9 a.m. to 4:15 p.m., Monday through Friday, when the House is not in session. Passes are required to enter either Gallery at any time. Visitors may obtain Gallery passes from the offices of their Senators or Representatives.


Exhibition Hall is home to E Pluribus Unum: Out of Many One, the only exhibition in the world dedicated to telling the story of the United States Congress and the U.S. Capitol. Exhibition Hall features original documents and artifacts, videos, touchable models, computer interactives and two small theaters, providing visitors with an in-depth look at how Congress works, the history of the Capitol and Congress, as well as information on Representatives and Senators.

A More Perfect Union: For more than two hundred years, the Capitol has been the place where representatives of the American people have debated how best to achieve the nation’s ideals.

The Capitol Story: The Capitol is one place- but it fills three roles. It’s a revered national symbol, a showcase of history, and a working office building.

History of Congress and the Capitol: This is the story of one of the world’s great experiments in government by the people.

Compromise and Conflict: In the mid-19th century, as the volatile issue of slavery grew increasingly divisive, Congress struggled with legislation to preserve the Union.

Special Programs:

  • Family Programs
    On Tuesdays and Wednesdays, at 11:30 a.m. the history of Congress comes to life through this 30-minute program in Exhibition Hall. Discover how the Capitol expanded over time, and unpack the details of a law and what goes into making a legislative decision. Meet at the entrance to Exhibition Hall on the lower level of the Visitor Center. No reservations or passes required.
  • Capitol and Congress During the Civil War
    In honor of the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War, a special tour, lasting 30 to 45 minutes, entitled “Capitol and the Congress During the Civil War,” is offered Monday through Friday at 3:30 p.m. With stops at the Old Supreme Court Chamber and the Old Senate Chamber, this tour will explore how the Capitol was used during the Civil War, critical debates that took place during the Civil War, and key judicial decisions made during this time period. No reservations are needed.

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