This gallery pass, featuring a commemorative medallion portrait of George Washington, would have allowed the ticket holder to attend President Herbert Hoover’s address to a joint session of Congress marking the bicentennial of Washington’s birth. The pass is stamped on the back “Gallery 9,” indicating the specific gallery in which the bearer would have been seated.
At 10 a.m. on February 22, 1932, guests holding tickets were permitted to enter the House gallery. The joint session of the Senate and House began at 11:30 a.m. to a packed audience including cabinet members, Supreme Court justices, diplomats, and other invited guests holding tickets. Radio allowed the speech to reach millions of homes nationally and abroad. The president encouraged Americans, beset by the Great Depression, to find inspiration in Washington’s life and deeds and “to renew that spark of immortal purpose which burned within him.” 
Following the joint session, the combined army, navy and marine bands played the “George Washington Bicentennial March” on the Capitol grounds. The march was composed and conducted by John Philip Sousa for this occasion. After the official opening of the bicentennial celebration at the Capitol, patriotic festivities to honor the nation’s first president were held around the country and concluded on Thanksgiving Day with a wreath laying at the Washington Monument.