Foundations for a Nation: Architectural Images from the Albert H. Small Washingtoniana Collection

Detail of "Bird’s-Eye View of Capitol Dome and the Mall"
Bird’s-Eye View of Capitol Dome and the Mall (detail), Ronald Thompson, ca. 1970. Albert H. Small Washingtoniana Collection 167
Now on view

To today’s visitor, the U.S. Capitol and White House buildings are so familiar they feel both permanent and inevitable. In the early nineteenth century, however, the look and use of these symbols of democracy went through many changes. Foundations for a Nation explores how public competitions, the preferences of individual presidents, and unanticipated historical events shaped Washington’s iconic landmarks.

Highlights Tours

Free docent-led tours of the galleries are offered Saturdays and Sundays at 1:30 p.m. (textile tour) and 2:45 p.m. (Washingtoniana tour).