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Senate Chamber


The Senate moved into its current chamber when the north wing of the Capitol was completed in 1859. Since the Civil War era, senators have deliberated, voted on legislation, and advised on and consented to treaties and nominations in this chamber.

The Senate Chamber 1859-2009
Graphic Art: The Senate Chamber

Constructing the Chamber

President Selects Location for New Senate Chamber, May 1, 1851
Constructing a Senate Theater, November 1857
The Senate's New Chamber, January 4, 1859
Senators Vote to Knock Out Walls, May 11, 1928

Chamber Desks

Senate Chamber Desks
Guide to Individuals Seated on the Senate Dais (CRS) (pdf)
Senate Donates Historic Desk, September 22, 1950

Historical Events in the Chamber

Soldiers Occupy the Senate Chamber, April 19, 1861
A Dramatic Session, July 4, 1861
Radio Days, May 2, 1924
Churchill Addresses Congress, December 26, 1941
Escaping the Summer's Heat, July 27, 1956
Smile: Photographing the Senate in Session, September 24, 1963
Loud and Clear, January 25, 1971
Funeral & Memorial Services held in the Senate Chamber: Slideshow | List

Visiting

The Senate gallery is open to visitors whenever in session. The Senate gallery is open during scheduled recesses of one week or more, and visitors are admitted to the gallery from 9 a.m. to 4:15 p.m., Monday through Friday. On recess days, visitors are welcome to stay until 4:30 p.m., at which time the gallery closes.Please visit your senator's office to obtain passes to the gallery.

The Old Senate Chamber

The Old Senate Chamber 1810-1859 (pdf)

Historical Events in the Old Senate Chamber

Bitter Feelings in the Senate Chamber, April 3, 1850
The Caning of Senate Charles Sumner, May 22, 1856
The Florida Case, February 5, 1877
The Old Senate Chamber Restored, June 16, 1976

Historical Meeting Places

Meeting Places and Quarters
Senate Moves to Philadelphia, December 6, 1790
Senate Moves to Washington, Nov 17, 1800
Senate Convenes in Emergency Quarters, September 19, 1814
The Nine Capitals of the United States (book feature)