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Art teacher gives Capitol building history lesson through art

'The paintings make history come alive'
Posted at 6:04 PM, Jan 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-11 18:04:42-05

A Lake Worth Beach art teacher has written a book about the artwork in the U.S. Capitol, reflecting different periods in our nation's history.

Rebecca Hinson is the author.

Her goal was to make it creative for kids to read about history.

Parent Kimberly McChesney said, "Ms. Hinson has gone out of her way. She made little books for the kids to look at. There's one right here."

After last week's destruction inside the Capitol, the Lake Worth Beach teacher said her students asked questions about what's inside the Capitol building. Rebecca Hinson shared the artwork and its history.

"In the Capitol you walk in and there's the Rotunda and it's amazing. And on the walls, you see all the paintings that represent the early history of our nation - everything to the signing of the Declaration of Independence, to the Revolutionary War, to the signing of the Constitution," she said.

Hinson wants to make learning interesting for the elementary school kids.

"The paintings make history come alive," she said.

She looks forward to visiting the Capital in person one day soon.

"I read yesterday that the art historians in the Capitol evaluated the paintings, sculptures and yes they were damaged somewhat by the pepper spray, the tear gas, the fire extinguishers, however they can be cleaned," she said.

Laura R. Condeluci from the Architect of the Capitol office said, "Our initial assessment is that most of the damage on the interior and envelope of the building is limited to broken glass, broken doors and graffiti. On the West Front, the teams identified graffiti on the building near the Inaugural Stands and two broken Olmsted light fixtures. There was also significant amounts of trash and debris. Statues, murals, historic benches and original shutters all suffered varying degrees of damage – primarily from pepper spray accretions and residue from tear gas and fire extinguishers – that will require cleaning and conservation."

Architect of the Capitol J. Brett Blanton issued the following statement:

"Wednesday was a difficult day for our campus. As the Architect of the Capitol mission calls us to serve, preserve and inspire, it was particularly hard to watch the scene unfold.

Our staff showed exemplary professionalism during such a stressful time. Many employees worked through the night to cleanup and begin repair work. Our teams have started carefully assessing the damage to the historic building and grounds. AOC employees have already served above and beyond throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and now we must continue to meet our mission in the days and months ahead as we support this clean-up and prepare for the upcoming presidential inauguration.

Since becoming Architect of the Capitol almost one year ago, I have continually been impressed and inspired by the great work of my colleagues. I’m proud to serve with each of them as we ensure future generations have the opportunity to appropriately experience the U.S. Capitol."