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Inaugural Web site
The Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies has launched a Web site to provide up-to-date information about the 2009 Presidential Inauguration and related ceremonies along with historical information and photos of inaugurals past.
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This Week in Senate History
Photo of Charles McNary, Life Magazine
January 5, 1937

Republican leader Charles McNary, for the first time, occupied the front-row, center-aisle desk on the eastern side of the Chamber. Democratic leader Joseph T. Robinson had inaugurated a comparable tradition on his side of the center aisle ten years earlier.

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Floor Schedule

Tuesday, Jan 06, 2009

12:00 p.m.: Convene the first session of the 111th Congress.

Previous Meeting

Friday, Jan 02, 2009

The Senate convened at 10:00 a.m. for a pro forma session. No record votes were taken.

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The Senate Chamber: 1859-2009

On January 4, 1859, sixty-six senators representing thirty-three states moved in procession into a large and beautiful Chamber, the centerpiece of a new Senate wing built in the 1850s.

The United States Senate in Session in Their New Chamber. 12-31-1859 The Senate of the 110th Congress
1859 Senate Chamber 110th Congress

Since 1789, when just twenty-two senators convened the first Senate, the number of senators had tripled as new states joined the Union and the Senate's old Chamber became crowded, noisy, and worn. News accounts of the event noted the solemn procession, the "finely proportioned" Chamber, and the colorful stained-glass ceiling. Spacious galleries accommodated up to 600 visitors and dignitaries. The Senate had a new home—a Chamber that would witness many historic debates, producing legislation that would reshape the nation.

Over the past 150 years, the Senate Chamber has undergone many changes. By the 1930s, age and decay threatened collapse of the old glass-paneled ceiling, and the Chamber's lighting and ventilation system needed modernizing. A mid-20th century renovation brought upgraded amenities and a clean, contemporary design. Cosmetic improvements in the 1980s provided a telegenic background as C-SPAN coverage of Senate proceedings began in 1986. Today, the Senate Chamber is a blend of old and new—of traditional and modern. It is a place where 19th-century mahogany desks and snuff boxes coexist with the computers and television cameras of the modern age.

Evolution of the Senate Chamber, 1859-2009

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