Due to a special event, on Wednesday, July 8, there will be no tours of the U.S. Capitol after 11 a.m. Emancipation Hall and Exhibition Hall in the Capitol Visitor Center will be unavailable all day. While reservations prior to 11 a.m. will be honored, same-day passes will not be available. The Capitol Visitor Center will close at noon except for individuals on official business and those going to the House and Senate Galleries.

The Power of Investigation: The Titanic Disaster 1912

How could it happen? That’s what people asked after the Titanic went down with many prominent Americans among the approximately 1,500 who died. The Senate asked too. Although the ship was British, there were lessons to be learned by all seafaring nations. In 1912, a special Senate subcommittee convened to investigate the Titanic disaster.

Surviving passengers and crew, and company officials, testified to the subcommittee with vivid and dramatic accounts that drew eager attention from the press and public. The hearings were the first to be held in the Senate’s ornate new Caucus Room. Though the Titanic investigation did not lead to criminal prosecutions, the subcommittee did recommend laws to improve ship safety.

History of Congress and the Capitol

The Senate 1877-1913

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The R.M.S. Titanic sets out from...
Image Caption

The R.M.S. Titanic sets out from the White Star Line dock at Southampton, England on April 10, 1912.

The R.M.S. Titanic sets out from the White Star Line dock at Southampton, England on April 10, 1912.

© Ralph White/CORBIS

The R.M.S. Titanic sets out from the White Star Line dock at Southampton, England on April 10, 1912.

The R.M.S. Titanic sets out from the White Star Line dock at Southampton, England on April 10, 1912.

© Ralph White/CORBIS

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