Due to a special Joint Meeting of Congress taking place in the Capitol on Tuesday, March 3, the U.S. Capitol will be closed to tours until approximately 12:30 p.m. on that day. The Capitol Visitor Center will remain open throughout the day, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and guided tours of the Capitol Visitor Center will be available while the Capitol is closed.

The British Burn the Capitol, August 24, 1814

Two hundred years ago, British troops marched on Washington, D.C., intent on striking a blow against the capital city during the War of 1812. The first public building they encountered was the unfinished Capitol. This feature describes what the Capitol looked like at the time, how the British attempted to destroy it, and how their actions shaped the future of the building.

Segment 1: The British Arrive
Historian William C. Allen describes the British advance on the Capitol.

Segment 2: The Corn Cob Columns
Historian William C. Allen describes the creation of a famous feature of the Capitol.

Segment 3: The Senate and Supreme Court Chambers
Historian William C. Allen describes the destruction of the Senate and Supreme Court Chambers.

Segment 4: The Library of Congress
Historian William C. Allen describes how the destruction of the Library of Congress altered the Capitol’s design.

Segment 5: The South Wing
Carol Beebe, Director of Exhibits and Education at the Capitol Visitor Center, describes what British troops saw when they entered the Capitol’s south wing.

Segment 6: The House Chamber
Historian William C. Allen describes how British troops destroyed the historic House Chamber.

Segment 7: The House Chamber before the War
Historian William C. Allen describes how architect Benjamin Henry Latrobe and President Thomas Jefferson collaborated on the design of the historic House Chamber.

Segment 8: Rebuilding the House Chamber
Historian William C. Allen describes how the room known today as National Statuary Hall was rebuilt after the fire.

 

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