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Discover the Senate Chamber Desks

The Senate Chamber desks are symbols of the Senate's past and present. The Senate Chamber Desks web exhibit makes available to senators, staff, and the public the rich history and traditions of the desks.

During the War of 1812, British troops burned the United States Capitol, destroying the Senate Chamber and its contents. In 1819, in an effort to replace what was lost, the Senate ordered the construction of 48 desks. Those 48 desks are still used by United States senators in today's Senate Chamber. Additional desks were built over the years to accommodate the senators from states newly accepted into the Union.

This exhibit details the desks' evolution and history by providing an intimate view of the Senate. Also included are seating charts and past occupant lists, providing a resource for identifying the locations and desks of senators past and present.

The exhibit is updated with each new Congress and with every change in desk occupancy.

Visit the Virtual Reference Desk for additional information about the traditions and symbols of the Senate.

View exhibit

Past Feature Articles



Have questions about Senate art? E-mail the curator, curator@sec.senate.gov.


Explore the Senate's themed exhibits of photographs and artwork.