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From The Blog

October 23, 2014

Plastic Fantastic

Stylish! Modern! Sturdy! And cheap! In the 1930s, Bakelite, an early plastic, was touted as “The Material of a Thousand Uses.” What uses, exactly? In one instance, desks for Congress.

October 16, 2014

Leave No Forwarding Address: When Congress Almost Abandoned D.C.

It was a low moment. When the 13th Congress (1813–1815) trickled into Washington, D.C., in September 1814 for a third session, they found a terrorized community, most public buildings destroyed, and a humiliated army on retreat. Once the grandest building in North America, the unfinished Capitol resembled a charcoal briquette. And though the invading British forces had departed more than three weeks previously, the damage they inflicted—both physical and emotional—very nearly convinced the shocked legislators to abandon Washington for good.

About The Offices

This site is a collaborative project between the Office of the Historian and the Clerk of the House's Office of Art and Archives. The offices preserve, collect, and interpret the heritage of the U.S. House, serving as the institution’s memory and a resource for Members, staff, and the general public.