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.
Before the Civil War, members of Congress grappled with the anticipated benefits of expansion into western territories. To inform legislative decisions that would affect the territories and their inhabitants, Congress relied on maps and reports of expeditions, such as those led by explorer John C. Frémont, a member of the Army Corps of Topographical Engineers. The subsequent expansion, however, ignited a passionate debate over the expansion of slavery, pitting the proslavery South against the antislavery North.