U.S. Capitol Dome set to undergo renovations

Rendering of U.S. Capitol Dome scaffolding
Architect of the Capitol

The United States Capitol Dome is set to undergo a major renovation this November to address more than 1,000 cracks and deficiencies that will leave it covered in scaffolding for approximately two years.

Damage to the U.S. Capitol Dome
Architect of the Capitol

The dome, which was constructed of cast iron more than 150 years ago, has not undergone a complete renovation since 1959-1960. During the work, a white canopy system in the shape of a doughnut will be installed to protect the public in the rotunda below. It will allow the famous artwork on the ceiling, the Apotheosis of Washington, to be seen during the process.

"As stewards of the Capitol for the Congress and the American people, we must conduct this critical work to save the Dome," said Architect of the Capitol Stephen T. Ayers. "From a distance the Dome looks magnificent, thanks to the hard-work of our employees. On closer look, under the paint, age and weather have taken its toll and the AOC needs to make repairs to preserve the Dome."

A contractor was selected for the work through an open competitive bidding process, according to the Architect of the Capitol. Most of the work will be completed at night and on weekends.

The Capitol won't the only famous Washington landmark covered in scaffolding. The Washington Monument has been under repair since a 2011 earthquake damaged the structure.

  • Rebecca Kaplan

    Rebecca Kaplan is a political reporter for CBSNews.com.