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2016 Top-Rated Nonprofit

U.S. Capitol Historical Society

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Children & Youth, Historical Organizations, History Museums, Youth Development - Citizenship

Mission: USCHS is a nonpartisan, nonprofit, 501(c)(3)organization chartered by Congress to educate the public about the Capitol and the Congress. It does this through programs that focus on landmark legislation that has shaped our nation, on the remarkable art in the Capitol that is based on uniquely American images, on the cultural and ethnic diversity of the Congress, and on other topics that help bring our history and government alive.

Programs: This tour and classroom program teaches Washington, D.C. public school 8th grade students and teachers about the Constitution and their city. The tour educates students about the first three articles of the Constitution by visiting the Capitol, the White House, the Supreme Court, the Lincoln Memorial, and finally the National Archives where students view the original documents, the Constitution and Bill of Rights, that they have spent the day discussing. Printed and on-line curriculum-based materials reinforce the tour lessons in the classroom, and a Challenge component involves schools actively in assessing the relevance of the Constitution.  

WTP is endorsed by D.C. Public Schools as one of its major social studies initiatives. DCPS teachers, administrators and students have advised in all aspects of the program. Since 2005, we have reached 7,158 students and teachers from more than 30 public and charter schools. One teacher said: “The tours have literally made D.C. a school without walls for me and my students.”

 USCHS is the coordinating partner in a consortium of organizations that includes the National Archives and Records Administration, the National Park Service, the White House Historical Association, the Federal Courts, the Center for Civic Education, Children’s Concierge and Old Town Trolley Tours.

 

Community Stories

34 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

The U.S. Capitol Historical Society is a tremendous organization that I am very happy to recommend. The Calvin Coolidge Presidential Foundation, which I direct, organized a trip to Washington, D.C. for 41 of America's top high school seniors. Many of the students on our trip had already been to Washington, so it was important that this experience be a unique one. We turned to the USCHS for help arranging a tour of the U.S. Capitol and could not have been more pleased. The team at the USCHS jumped right into action to organize a first-rate experience. Steve Livengood served as our tour guide. The energy and deep knowledge he brought was unmatched. The USCHS also arranged for former U.S. Rep. Bob Carr to join the tour. Mr. Carr secured access for the students to enter the floor of the House of Representatives. What's more, Mr. Carr spoke to the students for nearly an hour, explaining the process by which members of Congress cast their votes, the various pressures elected leaders face, and answering all the students' questions. Several of the students reported that sitting in the chairs on the House floor was the moment it really hit them the tremendous responsibility carried by elected leaders. Many of the students told me the Capitol tour was their favorite part of the entire weekend. I can't commend the USCHS enough for the effort its staff put into ensuring this was a great experience for us. Our trip was a weekend date in late August -- certainly not ideal for scheduling purposes. Yet the USCHS staff took it upon themselves to arrange an excellent experience.Thank you again to the USCHS!Kind regards,Matthew DenhartExecutive DirectorCalvin Coolidge Presidential Foundation

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was a research intern at the U.S. Capitol Historical Society during my junior year of college. First and foremost, the staff at the society was nothing but welcoming. From the first day, they treated myself and the other interns with respect, and took the time to show us how the society operated. As a history student, I was thrilled to learn about the research process and the abundant resources the society used in their projects. There was a clear dedication to educating the public on the history of our nation's capitol. After speaking with the other interns, they had the same feelings. Because of the welcoming and friendly atmosphere we experienced, the other interns and I love returning to USCHS events to visit our former co-workers. Occasionally, we even return as volunteers, such as at the annual Freedom Award event. At events such as this, the USCHS provides wonderful opportunities to continue your education, and I so look forward to attending these events in the future!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering with the U.S. Capitol Historical Society for a little over two years. The expertise that they posses on the Capitol is second to none and the tours they provide are one of a kind. Also, their exquisite events really help bring history alive.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered multiple times for USCHS events and every time it has been a wonderful experience. I keep getting dragged back and every time I learn something new or experience something you can't get anywhere else. The staff is the best. They are knowledgeable and can put together amazing events seamlessly.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been engaged as both an employee of and as a volunteer for the Society for several years now, and I can confidently say that you cannot find a better place to learn about the history of our nation, its institutions, and the neighborhoods and communities which support them anywhere. Truly, the story of America can be told in the story of the U.S. Capitol. The efforts of the society to preserve and share the history of the Article I Branch are critically important, and it has been my privilege to help with research and tours throughout my engagement. I plan to remain involved with USCHS as long and as much as I am able.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am constantly amazed by the rich history of the Capitol Building and the Congress, which the USCHS brings alive to everyone they reach. Wonderful programming, captivating tours, and an ever-expanding breadth of historical knowledge are the hallmarks of this fantastic organization. It is one of my greatest pleasures to be a volunteer with USCHS.

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Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered with the US Capitol Historical Society several times and each time it is so fun and enjoyable that I always want to volunteer again. The events they hold are informative, fun and a joy to be a part of. The staff is a wonderful group that are organized and professional and have a deep passion for education and teaching people about the Capitol and Congress. I always learn something new at each event and have an amazing time.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

What a wonderful organization to volunteer with. The passion for scholarship, outreach and education at the US Capitol Historical Society is contagious. I was unaware how much pride I felt in our form of government until I began to share it with students, citizens and foreign guests. The Capitol Building is a 200 year old museum of our history, art and architecture, but while we walk it's hallowed halls more history is being made as we observe. It is thrilling to watch current law makers being interviewed by the press right in Statuary Hall while the statues of our founders and leaders over two centuries look on. My great pleasure to be involved with this great non-profit organization.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had the opportunity to work with USCHS as a social media and marketing intern. As an intern, I learned a great deal about what the USCHS is all about. As a nonprofit, USCHS aims on bettering the education of the youth and the community about the U.S. Capitol. I have taken many tours, and worked closely with the majority of the staff; undoubtably I enjoyed every second of it. Not only is USCHS dedicated to educating the public on the history and heritage of the U.S. Capitol, but they are over all a great organization to work for/with.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a former intern at the U.S. Capitol Historical Society, I had an amazing and hugely rewarding experience working with the great people at the society. Not only was I given rare behind-the-scenes opportunities to learn about the history of our nation, government, and our capitol, I was given many opportunities to speak with government VIPs at various events. The people at the USCHS gave me both freedom in the work I was assigned and guidance when needed, and there was never a time where I didn't have a project to work on. If you are an intern looking to expand your skills in marketing, event management, research, and communications, I highly recommend interning at the society.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a volunteer for the US Capitol Historical Society for 5 years, after a career of working for and around the Congress. The Capitol building contains our history as a nation. The Historical Society’s mission is to keep this history alive and to remind the public of the vital role the legislative branch of our government plays in our representative democracy. Tours, lectures, publications, along with numerous special events are all part of what the Historical Society does in carrying out its mission. It has a dedicated staff and it is a privilege to be one of their volunteers. Jim Morrill.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The USCHS runs an extraordinary tour program, a series of symposia with leading academics and historians (followed up by publication of the proceedings) as well as a series of luncheon lectures. Of particular note are on-location lectures specially designed for Washington, DC 8 th grade students about the legislative branch of government.

All in all, the society fulfills an important academic role in historical research, a vital role in community educational service, and provision of an excellent educational/ tour service of our national Capitol building and history.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The staff and volunteers at the U.S. Capitol Historical Society (USCHS) are experts in the history of the U.S. Capitol building and the Congress, and seek to educate the public, of all ages, through educational programs, tours, and historical events. After attending such programs arranged by the USCHS, attendees often find a new appreciation for the history and current workings of the legislative branch. As a former member of staff, I can also speak to the values and dedication of the USCHS staff to the mission of the organization. I whole-heartedly recommend anyone looking to learn more about the Capitol and the Congress to use the many vital resources provided by the USCHS and attend one of their terrific events. You will not be disappointed.

Previous Stories

Former staff

Rating: 5

The U.S. Capitol Historical Society (USCHS) is a terrific organization that educates children and adults, locally and globally, on the history of the Capitol and the Congress. It does this through its We the People Constitution Tours, a free day-long program for 8th graders from DC public and charter schools; lectures, book talks, and symposia; award-winning publications; Capitol tours; and educational materials on the USCHS website. The staff and volunteers are wholly dedicated, and strive to educate more members of the public each week, each month, each year in fulfillment of the Society’s mission.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Living in a town that is full of history (and still making it every day), our nation's capital draws people from around the world daily to experience our past and present. One of our most renown and recognizable sites is our US Capitol building. Yet very few know that much about all of the rich history that has been created on "Capitol Hill".
The experts in preserving and passing on the vital history of the Capitol and our Congress is the Unite States Capitol Historical Society (USCHS). The tours they give on the Capitol building itself are without equal. I wish every American (and everyone interested in our Democracy and US History) could be part of one of their tours ! I actually would recommend more than one, since every time I'm on one, I learn something new and fascinating!
Also the lectures they have for supporters, are without equal as far as their richness in history and relevance to present day struggles. In my view USCHS is without equals. One of a kind to match our one of a kind Capitol building and our American experience !

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered with U.S. Capitol Historical Society for over 10 years, first in the office and later doing its portion of We the People tours for 8th graders in Washington. I've always found the entire organization to be professional and the employees to be personable and very interested in promoting the U.S. Capitol and its significance to the nation.

1

Client Served

Rating: 4

We had a wonderful experience on the Tour. My Students at Roots A.L.C. really learned a lot. It put the information and book learning into another perspectives. Learning from the different tour guides who had a fresh outlook o the information provided. The Bus driver and our tour guide were full of information on DC that was new to us all. As a proud Washingtonian I thought I was knowledgeable but even I learned some new information. I would recommend this tour to all schools and will do just that. They enjoyed the Scavenger Hunt and going to the White House. My students asked about going in and the guide was sure to tell them how they could at a later date but they had to be satisfied with a picture and story.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This was my first year volunteering with the USCHS in their We The People Constitution Program and I loved it. I think it is a great compliment to the DC Public School Curriculum, and a way to consolidize their studies and comprehension of the Constitution by seeing it at work first hand. The trolley tour is enjoyable so the students have fun while learning and the field trip brings them the message of the importance of the Constitution and how alive it still is today in a direct and impacting way making many things learned in the classroom suddently click and fall in place. The USCHS is also extremely gracious with its volunteers so it is a pleasure to work with them.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a volunteer guide for the U.S. Capitol Historical Society for over a decade. I consider it a privilege to explain to people the Capitol and discuss this Temple of Liberty.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The U S Capitol Historical Society plays a vital role in providing education on the history and workings of the US Congress. Through their many trolley tours for local DC public school children to their Capitol tours for individuals and large groups, they help the visitor understand how our unique legislative branch operates from both historical and current perspectives. Their publications and speaker programs often focus on little known, and interesting, historical stories, such as the recent story, Bootleggers in the Capitol. In addition to a educated and dedicated staff, the USCHS has a cadre of volunteers many of whom are licensed guides in DC and belong to the Guild of Professional Tour Guides of Washington DC.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Wonderful group of people working to make history relevant to today! Especially thru tours of the U.S. Capitol, but also thru lectures, symposiums and articles. I love the work they do! Jay Pierson

2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I had a wonderful experience as a short-term fellow at the US Capitol Historical Society. Working in the office of the curator of the Capitol, just a floor beneath the famous rotunda and Brumidi Corridors, was truly thrilling. More importantly, the staff was incredibly helpful in fostering my research, giving me access to all of their archival documents, an unrivaled collection of information on the Capitol Building and its history. I would recommend this fellowship to any interested scholars looking to enhance their research on the Capitol through publications or in the classroom.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Capitol Historical Society plays a vital role in our democracy by vividly helping us remember the past. Two recent events show this: 1) on the new restorations of works of Constantino Brumidi & 2) the 90th Anniversary of the Joint Committee on Taxation.

First, Brumidi. In these days of refugees and revolutions, how familiar is the very American story of Constantino Brumidi? The USCHS organized an event at his grave near Catholic University last summer and most recently a splendid evening update by the experts in the scientific and artistic processses to remove up to 12 layers and restore these frescoes to their past glory!

As for them 90th Anniversary of the Joint Committee on Taxation - the panel discussion on legislative histories may sound like a snoozer until you hear the men and women who made much of that history bring it alive with their stories of how we got to where we are and the juicy social and economic contexts and anecdotes.

Yes, Santayana was right, "Those who forget history are condemned to repeat it."

The USCHS won't let that happen!