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Architect of the Capitol

Logo, Architect of the Capitol

According to the official website, the Architect of the Capitol "is responsible to the United States Congress for the maintenance, operation, development, and preservation of 16.5 million square feet of buildings and more than 450 acres of land throughout the Capitol complex. This includes the House and Senate office buildings, the Capitol, Capitol Visitor Center, the Library of Congress buildings, the Supreme Court building, the U.S. Botanic Garden, the Capitol Power Plant, and other facilities."

The educational offerings of the Architect of the Capitol largely come in the form of text "snippets" addressing different buildings and architectural features in the Capitol Campus, Washington, DC. Under architecture, you can look through a list of architectural features of the capitol building. Click on one for a brief history of the dome, crypt, rotunda, or other features. The art section offers the same for the murals, portraits, reliefs, and sculptures in the Capitol Campus. Finally, FAQs offer a selection of data from building materials to architectural symbolism.

A kids' page provides a U.S. map, labeled to show the states which provided stone for the Capitol. Sadly, this section is underdeveloped, and offers little else.

Sound like a nice collection of trivia? Consider it as an alternative way to teach the social aspects of government. How do the buildings of the Capitol Campus display period concepts of the ideal U.S.A.? How do they fit the needs of the demographic which would have used them at the time of their building? Do the materials or structures speak to the power or influence of any particular individuals, families, or industries?