Tuesday, December 02, 2008

U.S. Capitol Visitors Center Opens in Washington DC

Today the United States Congress officially opened the new 621 million dollar underground Visitors Center between the U.S. Capitol and the Supreme Court and Library of Congress Buildings at a formal ceremony broadcast live on C-SPAN TV. My wife and I watched the ceremony because one of our family sang as part of the choir during the ceremony. We are very proud!

From Wikipedia:

The United States Capitol Visitor Center (CVC) is an addition to the United States Capitol which will serve as a gathering point for up to 4,000 tourists[1] and an expansion space for the US Congress. It remains under construction below the East Front of the Capitol, between the Capitol and 1st Street East. The complex contains 580,000 square feet (54,000 m2) of space below ground on three floors.[2] The overall project's budget is $621 million.[3]

The CVC has space for use by the Congress, including multiple new meeting and conference rooms. On the House side, there is a large room which will most likely be used by a committee. The new Congressional Auditorium, a 450-seat theater, will be available for use by members of Congress or for either House of Congress should their respective chamber be unavailable.[4]

The CVC's opening date was December 2, 2008. This date celebrates December 2, 1863, the day that Thomas Crawford's Statue of Freedom was placed atop the Capitol building, signifying the completion of construction of its dome.[5]

As was pointed out during the opening ceremony Abraham Lincoln gave his Second Inaugural Address above where the new Visitors Center is located on Saturday, March 4, 1865.

The Visitor Center will allow visitors to the U.S. Capitol a chance to get out the Sun or rain while they are waiting for their tour of the Capitol and will have many exhibits to entertain and inform them about our history.

(For more information click on the title for a link to the Visitors Center's web site)