The Capitol Visitor Center will close at 1 p.m. on December 24 and December 31. We are also closed Christmas Day and New Year's Day.
Throughout the 19th century Congress promoted exploration of the American West. President Thomas Jefferson proposed, and Congress funded the first expedition: a “Corps of Discovery,” led by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark in 1803. Their mission was to chart the Louisiana Territory, find a water route to the Pacific Ocean, and establish trade with Indian nations. Traveling the Missouri and Columbia Rivers and partially overland to the Pacific, they acquired a wealth of information about the geography, geology, flora, fauna, and peoples of the Northwest.