National Building Museum

Power, Architecture, and Politics: The Design of Washington and the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts Symposium

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Advance registration for this program has closed. Walk-In registration will be available beginning at 8:30am on Wednesday, May 19th. Lunches will also be available for purchase on the 19th at the Museum's Cafe.

One hundred years ago, Congress established the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts to guide the development of the nation’s capital. In this day-long symposium, noted historians discuss the design and planning of Washington, D.C., from 1910 to today. 6.0 LU (AIA) / 6.0 CM (AICP) / 6.0 LA CES (ASLA)


Program is 9:30 am – 12:15 pm; 2:15 – 5:00 pm

8:30 - 9:30 am Registration

9:30 – 9:45 am Welcome and Opening Remarks
Chase Rynd, President and Executive Director, National Building Museum 
Earl A. Powell, III, Chairman of the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts
Tom Luebke, Secretary, U.S. Commission of Fine Arts

9:45 - 10:30 am  Session 1
The Enduring Design Legacy of Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr., in the Nation’s Capital
Arleyn Levee, Landscape Historian and Preservation Consultant

10:30 – 11:15 am Session 2
The Improvement of Washington City: Charles Moore and the Monumental Core
Pamela Scott, Architectural Historian

11:15 – 11:30 am Break

11:30 am – 12:15 pm Session 3
Fiske Kimball and the Jefferson Memorial: A Pyrrhic Victory for American Architecture
Carroll William Westfall, Frank Montana Professor and Chairman, School of Architecture, University of Notre Dame

12:15- 2:15 Break

2:15 – 3:00 pm  Session 4
The Personal Influence of Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry S Truman on Washington design
William B. Bushong, White House Historical Association Historian

3:00 – 3:45 pm   Session 5
"Rather Strong Advisory:" The 1960s and the Challenge of the FBI Building
Zachary Schrag, Associate Professor of History, George Mason University

3:45 – 4:00 pm  Break

4:00 – 4:45 pm   Session 6 
The Vicissitudes of Postmodernism: J. Carter Brown and the CFA 1971-2002
Richard Guy Wilson, Commonwealth Professor's Chair in Architectural History, University of Virginia

4:45 – 5:00 pm  Closing Remarks


Three sandwich lunch options are available for $12 per lunch. To register for the program and/or to purchase lunch, please click on Buy Tickets  below.

Lunch Options:
• Grilled Breast of Chicken
• Roasted Garden Vegetables with Herbed Cream Cheese in Pita
• Black Forest Ham and Provolone

All sandwiches are served on fresh breads and rolls with lettuce and tomatoes, and accompanied by mayonnaise and Dijon mustard.


Click here for suggested readings related to this event, available in the Museum Shop.

Time: 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

We're sorry, the deadline for buying tickets for this event has passed.