Hope you don’t mind if I bounce around a little bit with my posts to keep things dynamic because I tend to get bored with doing things in chronological order. This means I’ll have another Caribbean post ready for ya next week.
As for today, we’re going to keep it local and take it back to that one time Charles and I went on a tour through the U.S. Capitol building in celebration of our wedding anniversary… As much as we love to travel, there really is no place like home which in our case happens to be the DMV. DMV standing for the District of Columbia and surrounding Maryland and Virginia areas.
For those who may not be aware, tours of the U.S. Capitol building are free. Yes, you heard right. FREE. Which means that if you’re in D.C., there really is no excuse for not scheduling a visit.
The visitor’s webpage for the Capitol building makes it seem as though you have to book a tour ahead in order to go.. But you don’t. Charles and I didn’t reserve a tour and were able to walk right up the visitor’s center desk to get our tickets while those who had reserved tickets ahead of time waited in line to pick them up. Oh, the irony.
Tickets in hand and stickers stuck, we joined our tour group and went inside the orientation theater to watch “Out Of Many, One” = a film that went through a quick U.S. History lesson on the manifestation of democracy in America and highlighted how the U.S. Capitol Building was designed and constructed into the building it is today.
About 15 minutes later, we exited out of the theater, were divided into smaller groups and assigned to specific tour guides. Our tour guide (forgetting his name but he was great!) gave us headphones that would allow us to hear him speak regardless of how noisy it was in the building. Pretty cool, right?
The first stop on our tour? The Crypt. Sounds scary but not so much. The Crypt is a circular room located on the first floor that was initially built with the idea that our first President, George Washington, would be buried underneath the center of the Crypt. But things didn’t go according to plan because Washington’s wishes were to have his remains remain at Mount Vernon upon his death annnd so they did. Which means the floor beneath the center of the Crypt is empty. No body whatsoever.
^^ The 13 columns in the room represent the original 13 colonies.
Regardless of the fact that George Washington wasn’t there, I went to the center of the Crypt and took a shoefie in front of the area where President was almost buried because why not?
Next Stop: The Rotunda a.k.a. the dome part of the Capital building that gives it its distinct look. The exterior of the Rotunda is currently under going a restoration project to maintain the structural integrity of the dome. As such, parts of the ceiling were covered with netting to catch any debris that might fall from above. Call me crazy but I actually thought the netting added a cool effect to the overall look of the ceiling.
^^ The portrait monument of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony and Lucretia Mott = leaders of the Women’s Suffrage Movement. They were representing for the ladies in the Rotunda as all the other statues and monuments in the room were of notable male figures in American history. #girlpower
^^ Looking up into the dome.
While inside the rotunda, our tour guide pointed out statues and paintings all around the room and explained their historical significance. I can’t remember every single point he made but the main thing I took away from his educational lecture was that pretty much every single corner of the rotunda was designed and built to tell/represent the story of America’s history through the ages. Even the materials used to build the room had a story behind why they were used.
Following our stop at the Rotunda, we made our way over to the National Statuary Hall which used to be the meeting place for the U.S. House of Representatives until 1857 when the official wing for the House of Representatives was built. Presently, the hall serves as an art gallery. In 1864, each state was invited to contribute two statues of prominent citizens to be displayed in the room and the collection grew from there. The room holds 39 statues and the rest are located throughout the Capitol building, including the rotunda.
^^ My favorite statue in the Statuary Hall = The statue of Rosa Parks which is the first full length African American statue commissioned by Congress in 2005 to have a place in the Capitol building. The statue depicts the scene of her seated on the bus, wearing the same clothes she was wearing when she was arrested in 1955 for refusing to give up her seat. Aside from Rosa Parks, the busts (upper body sculptures) of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Sojourner Truth are the only other African American citizens represented in the Capitol building.
^^ Standing where Abraham Lincoln desk used to be when he was working as a representative for Illinois prior to becoming president.
Once we had our fill of statues, we made our way back to the Visitor’s Center and turned in our headphones. Overall, the tour of the Capitol building was about an hour in length which I personally think was the perfect amount of time. Not too long, not too short and very informative.
I’m so glad Charles and I finally went on a tour the Capitol building. Definitely something to add to your to-do list if you ever visit D.C. I mean helllo, FREE TOUR. Doesn’t get much cheaper than that.
Another great idea would be to take a few photos outside, in front of Capitol building for souvenir’s sake. Below are a few of the pics Charles and I snapped before we headed to the nearby metro to go home. I wasn’t sure about posting the last pic below but Charles told me that I should soooo I did. You’re welcome.
U.S. Capitol Building
East Capitol St. NE & First St. SE
Washington, D.C. 20004