Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Things to See on a Visit to the Nation's Capitol Building

One of the most iconic buildings in Washington D. C. is the Capitol Building. Today, February 28, 2017 President Trump will give his Presidential Address in the Senate Chamber and the building will close to visitor's at noon. Coverage of the speech will begin at 8 p.m.

The first corner stone of the U.S. Capitol Building was laid September 18, the thirteenth year of  American Independence, in the first year of the second term of George Washington placed the metal plate. In 1991 an attempt was made to find the cornerstone after years of reconstruction and it was never found.  It is believed to be under the southeast corner of Statuary Hall.

The Plaster Model for the Statue of Freedom

The Crypt seen below, is located under and is the support of the rotunda. There are forty columns and there is said to be a star in the middle of the floor.  I missed it.

There is an interesting story about the crypt, Congress wanted to honor and include Washington in the Capitol building by having his remains kept there. One problem was Washington died before the building was finished. Another issue was Washington stated in his will he wanted to be buried in Virginia. Congress requested George Washington's twice and the family sued Congress which led to a law established in Virginia that Washington will forever remain in Virginia.

The Apotheosis of George Washington by Constantino Brumidi completed in 11 months in 1865 after the Civil War. George Washington is seated in the center flanked by Victory and Liberty/Fame. The thirteen figures encircling represent the thirteen original states.  The six groups around the perimeter represent War, Science, Marine, Commerce, Mechanics and Agriculture. Read more about this symbolic painting at the Architect of the Capitol website.

Liberty and the Eagle  by Enrico Causici located in Statuary Hall looks out over the Hall from a niche above the colonnade behind what was once the Speaker's rostrum

Car of History Clock located in Statuary Hall by Carlo Franzoni. This neoclassical marble sculpture depicts Clio, the Muse of History, riding in the chariot of Time and recording events in the chamber below. The wheel of the chariot contains the chamber clock; the works are by Simon Willard.

Rosa Parks statue authorized by Congress in 2005 sits appropriately in Statuary Hall. It is the first full-length statue of an African American in the U.S. Capitol. In 1999, Rosa Parks was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal for her work in the civil rights movement. After her death in 2005, her remains were allowed to lie in honor at the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol.

The majority of the state statues can be found in Statuary Hall including the Pennsylvania statue of Robert Fulton see below to the right.  It has been in the National Statuary Hall Collection since 1889. The other Pennsylvania representative statue, Mulhenberg is in the Crypt of the Capitol, more than a somewhat distinguished location. Thirteen of the original states are represented there and Pennsylvania is one of them.

Series of pictures from the Old Senate Hall 

Rembrandt Peale portrait of George Washington hangs above. Rembrandt was 17 years old when he painted this. No painting in the U.S. Capitol has greater historical or symbolic resonance. Read more about it at the U.S.senate.gov website.

It's true the Republicans sit on the right and the Democrats to the left.  It is just a personal opinion but I think they should mix them up a little, let them mingle and get a different perspective or perhaps a different viewpoint.  For the record, I was standing in the aisle, it doesn't take too much to reach across. I also recognize it is no easy task to sit in that chamber, it is a lot of responsibility and pressure. Note the book on the desk in the back row and read further about "The Caning of Senator Charles Sumner". The book designates Senator Sumner's desk.

Now the office of Senator Robert Casey Jr. from Pennsylvania.

I am going to give a shout out to a senator from the State of Pennsylvania. In obtaining a pass to visit the current U.S. Senate Chamber, I learned something new about Senator Robert P. Casey Jr., his office is the former office of Senator John F. Kennedy in the Russell Building. Imagine how that atmosphere emulates "Profiles in Courage".

Series of pictures from the Old Supreme Court

Front of the Old Supreme Court (above) the two seats to the right are original

Back of the Old Supreme Court. Of note on the back wall "Justice" one of the oldest works of art in the Capitol (read more about the symbolism at the link). The Clock below was ordered by Chief Justice Roger B. Taney in 1837. It was set 5 minutes ahead by Taney to insure the other justices arrived in a timely manner. read more about how time traveled and fixing the broken hand.

 What would Washington be without "rumors"? Shedding a little light "factor fiction"?

President Trump speaks tonight, one thing is a fact, this president has made America sit and listen stand up and speak.  That in itself is not a bad thing. Touring the Capitol Building allows you to see there is a lot of things that go on in Washington and we have to trust the representatives we send there on our behalf to make wise choices for the good of all people. E pluribus unum "Out of many, one".

Top 10 Must See On Your Visit (recommended in United States Capitol Visitor Guide)

đź–’Specialty Tours, talks and Family Programs

đź–’Table from Abraham Lincoln's Second Inauguration (Exhibition Hall)

✔View of the Dome through Skylights (Look Up)

✔The Plaster Model for the Statue of Freedom (Emancipation Hall)

✔Statue Collection (100 statues representing 50 States of the United States throughout the building including Statuary Hall).

✔House and Senate Galleries (no photography recording allowed)(get passes from your Senator or Representative) Information available on where to find those offices within walking distance of the Capitol.

đź–’Slave Labor Commemorative Marker (Emancipation Hall)

đź–’Capitol Dome Model (Exhibition Hall)

đź–’Gavel used by George Washington during the ceremony to lay the cornerstone of the Capitol; in 1793 (Exhibition Hall)

đź–’Catafalque support for the casket of the President and other eminent citizens during lying in state ceremonies (Exhibition Hall)

In my opinion:
đź–’Thumbs up indicates reasons I have to go back
✔Check mark indicates been there, seen that, worth seeing again and don't miss it.

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