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signs for the House and Senate commemorative postage stamps and
the Congressional Bicentennial Coins.
The Congress: The History and Promise of Representative
Government. (March 13, 1989). A film produced in cooperation with the Office for the Bicentennial and the Senate Historical Office by the award winning film maker Ken Burns. This 90-minute documentary was funded by Ameritech and produced by Ken Burns and WETA public television. The gala premier of the film was held at the National Theater on March 13, 1989. A week later it was broadcast over most of the PBS stations across the country. Subsequently it has been widely distributed to schools. In addition to promoting the film and planning for its premier, the Office for the Bicentennial worked closely with the writers and film crew and participated in the creation of teachers guides and classroom material supporting the film.
First Day of Issue Ceremony for the House of Representatives
Bicentennial Postage Stamp. (April 4, 1989). The Office for the Bicentennial and the Postmaster of the House coordinated and helped plan a ceremony conducted by the U.S. Postal Service on the occasion of the First Day of Issue of the House commemorative
stamp, which featured the "Car of History" statue in Statuary
Hall, the old House Chamber. The ceremony was held in Statuary Hall, beneath the "Car of History." A First Day of Issue cancellation station provided Members, staff, and the public with an op
portunity to mark this event with a permanent souvenir of the
Two Hundredth Anniversary of the Inauguration of George Wash
in ton. ( New York City, April 30, 1989). The Office for the B: entennial was charged with coordinating and planning for congressional participation in the New York City events on the steps of Federal Hall, the site of the home of the First Congress and the place where George Washington's inauguration was held. The congressional delegation joined the President of the United States, cabinet officers, New York City and State leaders, and national, state, and city bicentennial officials for the day-long events, including a church service in historic St. Paul's Chapel, where George Washington attended services on the day of his inauguration, an address by President Bush, remarks by Congresswoman Lindy Boggs, representing the House of Representatives and Senator
Daniel Moynihan, representing the Senate, and a bicentennial pro
First Strike Ceremony for Congressional Bicentennial Coins.
(June 14, 1989). For the first time in the history of the United States Mint, coins were struck outside a Mint facility on Flag Day, 1989. The ceremony was held in a specially constructed tent on the East Front of the Capitol. coin presses from the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia were brought to the Capitol for the event. Mem
bers of Congress participated in the ceremony and actually struck
coins. A number of Members participated in a Mint program to have their specially struck coins donated to appropriate institutions in their states or districts.. Proceeds from the Mint surcharges of the three-coin sets ($5 gold, Silver Dollar, and Half Dollar) will go to the U.S. Capitol Preservation Commission, established by Congress to help restore and enhance the historical features of the Capitol Building. The Office for the Bicentennial participated in the overall planning of the event and coordinated con
gressional participation with Mint officials. Earlier, the His
torian was one of those who testified before the House Subcommittee on Consumer Affairs and Coinage on behalf of the bill calling for the minting of the congressional coins. The Office acted in an advisory capacity with the Mint and the official designees in Congress charged with selecting the coin designs.
Gala Fund Raising Dinner for the U.s. Capitol Preservation Commission. (June 20, 1989). The Office for the Bicentennial coordinated this event with Senate planners and the private sec
tor, and worked closely with the writers and musicians who created
a special musical tribute to Congress, that was both historically
accurate and entertaining, called "Phantoms of the Capitol," which interpreted the history of Congress in song and dance in the style of a Broadway musical.
Additional Activities of the
During the six years the Office has been in operation, the
Historian and his staff have on many occasions performed histori
cal reference services for Members, the press, and the public. The Historian, the Associate Historian, and the Assistant Historian have lectured on the history of the House to groups of constituents at the request of Members. The Office has provided Members with historical materials for speeches related to the bicentennial of the House. They have also spoken to school groups, the Page School, and conducted seminars in House history for the Guide Service. The Office has served as a clearing house
for historical information for the public and the press, advised scholars working on the history of the House, and conducted tours of the Capitol for foreign dignitaries at the request of the House leadership and the Commission on the U.S. House of Representatives Bicentenary.
The Office has been particularly active in promoting better standards for preservation of and access to the records of the House, both its official records and the personal records of Mem
bers. The Historian has testified before the Subcommittee on Rules
of the House regarding access to committee records of the House.
The Assistant Historian, an archival expert, has developed con
tacts nationally with archivists who specialize in the management of congressional collections. The Historian has given numerous speeches before historical societies, archival groups, and scholars on the need to preserve the documentary heritage of this
The Office has pioneered the development of electronic in
formation on the history of the House. The Biographical Directory
of the United States Congress will soon be available to all Members' offices and to researchers with access to the Library of