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.

Artistic Improvements

On the outside, the Capitol remained largely unchanged during this period. Inside, however, various artistic projects were undertaken to improve the Capitol's interior. In the rotunda, Constantino Brumidi began painting the 300-foot-long frieze in 1878 with scenes from American history. Sculpture was originally intended for the frieze, but Brumidi was able to achieve a similar effect with paint.

After the death of Vice President Henry Wilson in 1875, the Senate commissioned a bust of its deceased presiding officer (the vice president is President of the Senate), displaying it in the room where Wilson had died. This launched a program to commission busts of all former vice presidents for the Senate wing. The House, in a similar tribute to its history, began commissioning oil portraits of former Speakers in 1911.

History of Congress and the Capitol

The Capitol 1877-1913

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Statue of Abraham Lincoln, by...
Image Caption

Statue of Abraham Lincoln, by Vinnie Ream, 1870

When Congress commissioned this statue from Ream in 1866, she was only 18 years old.

Architect of the Capitol

Statue of Abraham Lincoln, by Vinnie Ream, 1870

When Congress commissioned this statue from Ream in 1866, she was only 18 years old.

Architect of the Capitol

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