Instrumental to our identity and future national development, the War of 1812 would not only inspire a national anthem, but would define Congress’s mission for the era to come. The Capitol Visitor Center’s new exhibit, Congress and the War of 1812, includes President James Madison’s original war message to Congress from June 1, 1812, in which he detailed British offenses against the United States. Congress responded by using its constitutional power to for the first time declare war. Also on display is the original legislation from 1930 to make “The Star Spangled Banner” the national anthem.
Before or after your tour of the Capitol, consider joining a Visitor Guide for a 50-minute special tour offered Monday through Friday at 11 a.m., exploring three unique stories about the War of 1812.
There are many other treasured documents and artifacts loaned to the Capitol Visitor Center from the National Archives and the Library of Congress that you won’t want to miss. The only exhibition in the country dedicated to telling the story of Congress and the construction of the Capitol, Exhibition Hall is open Monday through Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. No reservations or passes are needed to visit Exhibition Hall, which is located on the lower level of the Visitor Center, behind the plaster model for the Statue of Freedom. Plan to visit Exhibition Hall before or after your tour of the Capitol!
Curious about what happened at the U.S. Capitol and in Congress during the Civil War? Explore our new Website, “Building A More Perfect Union: Congress, the Capitol Building, and the Civil War.”
Click here for a virtual exploration of Exhibition Hall