In order to allow for the installation of scaffolding and floor, statuary, and artwork protection in conjunction with the Dome Restoration Project, the Rotunda of the Capitol will be closed from Monday, July 27 through Monday, September 7. While the Rotunda is unavailable for tours, an alternate tour route will be provided. The Capitol Visitor Center is open during the closure of the Rotunda and will offer special activities which do not require advance reservations. You can also download our new U.S. Capitol Rotunda app.

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.