Despite Capitol Renovations, Plenty of Action for Tourists on Campus
Posted at 2:23 p.m. on April 15, 2014
The Capitol Rotunda, House Floor and other parts of the campus are closed to visitors for renovations. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Congress has skipped town, so it’s time to cut a rug.
A cart full of carpeting sat parked in the Speaker’s Lobby on Tuesday morning, as workers ripped the flooring around members’ desks in the House chamber. The 10-day carpet renovation is one of the many maintenance projects happening around the Capitol during the two-week recess.
In addition to the 17-day Rotunda closure, the House floor, Speaker’s Lobby and portions of the Brumidi Corridors were closed to visitors this week. Capitol Visitor Center tour guides in their trademark red blazers showed tourists an alternate route through the building.
While the iconic art in the Rotunda has been hidden from view as the Architect of the Capitol dives into its multi-year Capitol Dome renovation, visitors still get to see the 13 statues in the Crypt and tour the historic Old Senate Chamber and Old Supreme Court Chambers. The House Gallery remains open to visitors throughout the carpet renovation project, according to a memo from House Sergeant-at-Arms Paul Irving that was obtained by CQ Roll Call.
To accommodate for the Rotunda closure, the CVC has planned some unique offerings for the spring break crowd. They include:
- Outdoor Walking Tours: A 50-minute guided tour of the Capitol building and grounds offered daily at 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. Meet at the North Gift Shop inside the CVC. No reservations or passes are required.
- Capitol Visitor Center Encounters: Interpreters will be positioned in Exhibition Hall and Emancipation Hall throughout the day to use objects to tell a variety of six-minute stories. Topics will include: how a bill becomes a law, how enslaved laborers helped build the Capitol and how workmen are using special “pins” to restore the Capitol Dome.
- What’s Happening in the Chambers?: A short talk on how to visit the House of Representatives and Senate visitor galleries will be offered Monday through Friday hourly between 9:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Inquire at Exhibition Hall. No passes or reservations are needed.
- Brumidi Corridors Tour: A special 30-minute tour of the ornate paintings in the Brumidi Corridors. It will be offered Monday through Friday at 10 a.m., noon, 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. No reservations are needed. Passes will be available at one of the information desks on the lower level of the CVC. There is a maximum of 30 individuals per tour, and passes will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis.
- Capitol and Congress During the Civil War Tour: In honor of the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War, a special tour will be offered Monday through Friday at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. The tour, which includes stops at the Old Supreme Court Chamber, the Old Senate Chamber and other important areas, will explore how the Capitol was used during the Civil War. No reservations are needed. Passes will be available at one of the information desks on the lower level of the CVC. There is a maximum of 15 individuals per tour, and passes will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis.