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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 (Nov 1857)
The Senate's New Chamber (Jan 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 Report) (pdf)
Senate Donates Historic Desk (Sep 22, 1950)

Historical Events in the Chamber

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


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. – 4:15 p.m., Monday – Friday. 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 (Apr 3, 1850)
The Caning of Senate Charles Sumner (May 22, 1856)
The Florida Case (February 5, 1877)
A Shrine Restored (June 16, 1976)

Historical Meeting Places

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