Capitol Tour Helps Mark Constitution Day

Posted September 12, 2007 at 6:11pm

In an effort to honor the oldest federal constitution in existence, Congress passed a bill in 2003 designating Sept. 17 as Constitution Day. In honor of the occasion, the Education and Scholarship Department of the U.S. Capitol Historical Society will hold a two-hour walking tour of the exterior of one of the world’s most recognizable buildings, the U.S. Capitol, on Monday.

Constitution Day honors the day in 1787 when members of the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia signed the historic document, which contains the primary law of the U.S. government, describes the three branches of government and their jurisdictions, and lays out the basic rights of U.S. citizens.

“It is a day to honor the significance and value of this important document,” said Felicia Bell, director of education and outreach for the USCHS. “Some educational organizations have extended their observances to the entire month of September.”

The society’s Constitution Day tour is an opportunity to reacquaint the public with the meaning of the legislative branch as it was established in the first Section of the first Article of the Constitution.

Steve Livengood, the society’s chief guide and public programs director, said he uses the building as a teaching tool to explain the bicameral Congress and balance of power the framers outlined in the Constitution.

“The tours will allow the public learner to help the society complete its mission to preserve and protect the history of the Capitol and Congress,” Bell said.

Those who sign up for the tour will receive a complimentary pocket-sized copy of the Constitution. The fee for the tour is $10 per adult and $5 for children. The tour will begin at 10 a.m. at the top of the escalator at Union Station Metro’s Massachusetts Avenue exit.

The tour will take place rain or shine. For further details or questions, call 202-543-8919, ext.19.