Among the most architecturally impressive and symbolically important buildings in the world, the U.S. Capitol is located at the eastern end of the National Mall in Washington, D.C.
The building has housed the meeting chambers of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives for almost two centuries. Since construction began in 1793, the Capitol has been built, burned, rebuilt, extended and restored. Today, it stands as a monument not only to its builders, but also to the American people and their government.
The Capitol building’s architecture design is derived from ancient Greece and Rome. As the building was expanded from its original design, builders made sure to keep it consistent with the original buildings.
This building is divided into five levels. The first floor is occupied by committee rooms and the spaces allocated to various congressional officers. There are a few areas on this level you can visit too! You can see the Hall of Columns, the Brumidi Corridors, the restored Old Supreme Court Chamber, and the crypt beneath the Rotunda.
The second floor holds the chambers of the House of Representativesand the Senate, as well as the offices of the congressional leadership.
There are a few major spots you can visit on the second floor. You can see the rotunda, a circular ceremonial space that also serves as a gallery of paintings and sculpture depicting significant people and events in the nation’s history. You can also visit the semicircular chamber south of the rotunda, which houses part of the Capitol’s collection of statues donated by the states in commemoration of notable citizens.
The third floor allows access to the galleries from which visitors may watch the proceedings of the House and the Senate when Congress is in session. The rest of the building is occupied by offices, committee rooms, press galleries, machinery rooms, workshops, and support areas.
While visiting the U.S. Capitol Building on your next class trip, you can tour the iconic building, but your visit is also an excellent opportunity for your middle or high school students to meet with your local or state representative.
If you have any questions or would like to learn more about booking a class trip to Washington D.C., feel free to reach out below!