United States Capitol Visitor Center

Washington, D.C.

Every year, the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center welcomes the two and a half million visitors who come to tour the Capitol itself. The legacy and processes of the legislative branch of government are featured in an artifact-rich introduction to the center of America's representative democracy.

RAA collaborated with Senate and House historians, the Library of Congress, the National Archives, and the Senate and House leadership to shape an interpretive experience that presents the founding principles of American representative government and celebrates the Capitol's architectural grandeur.

Two one-hundred-fifty-seat theaters introduce the exhibitions, which feature a changing display of the very rarest documents from the Library of Congress and the National Archives.

Artifact-based exhibits on the history of the House and Senate, a series of models showing the Capitol's evolution, and interactive exhibits invite visitors to explore the building’s historic architecture, art, and decorative arts. Highlights of the gallery are two theater spaces evoking the House and Senate chambers. These present historic films, identify senators and representatives, and, when the chambers are in session, provide live feeds from their floors—glimpses of law-making in action.

Year:
2008
Client:
Architect of the Capitol
Architect:

RTKL

Size:

65,000 square feet

Awards:
  • Event Design Awards, Silver Winner, Best Museum Environment

  • Graphis Design Annual, Gold Award

© 2014, Ralph Appelbaum Associates, Inc.