By Ray Smock
Several weeks ago, when I was interviewed about recent House Speakers for C-SPAN-3 American History TV, I also made comments about the Speaker’s Lobby in the House of Representatives, an ornate room just outside the House chamber that the public rarely sees. The room has not changed much over the years except for the addition of newer portraits of recent speakers, and the absence of teletype machines, where members could see breaking news stories on the wire service. Now they get this information on their smart phones. Join me on a brief tour of this historic space in the United States Capitol.
By Ray Smock
I was pleased to participate in a panel on the State of Congressional History at the annual meeting of the Society for History in the Federal Government, which met here at the Byrd Center last April. My colleagues on the panel were Richard McCulley of the Center for Legislative Archives at the National Archives, the Senate Historian, Don Ritchie, and the House Historian, Matt Wasniewski. All of us spend a great deal of time thinking about Congressional history, the progress we have made and the long road ahead to preserve and disseminate the rich history of the United States Congress.
I had the great honor to serve as the first official historian of the House many moons ago, and that experience opened my eyes to how little the public knows of the history of this part of government and how little many of the people elected to serve there know of this 226 year history of this great ongoing experiment in representative democracy. Fortunately for the past 30+ years both the Senate and House established dynamic small offices to carry out the role of being keepers of Congress’s institutional history and to provide outreach to the public and the press on matters of Senate and House history.
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