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.

Preserving Capitol History

Two of the Capitol’s most historic rooms had fallen on hard times by 1960. The Old Senate Chamber was a meeting and party room. The Old Supreme Court Chamber had been divided into offices for the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy. Senator John Stennis of Mississippi spoke out about the deplorable condition of these noteworthy spaces. In 1961, he introduced a bill to restore the rooms.

Stennis’s measure met opposition in the House of Representatives. It took 11 years for the appropriation to finally win approval. Once the project was under way, however, some of the nation’s foremost scholars and restoration experts guided the work to completion. The Old Supreme Court Chamber was opened to the public in 1975, followed a year later by the Old Senate Chamber.

History of Congress and the Capitol

The Capitol 1945-Present

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Old Supreme Court Chamber after...
Image Caption

Old Supreme Court Chamber after restoration, 1993

Old Supreme Court Chamber after restoration, 1993

Photograph © 1993 Fred J. Maroon

Old Supreme Court Chamber after restoration, 1993

Old Supreme Court Chamber after restoration, 1993

Photograph © 1993 Fred J. Maroon

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