→Recent History and Key Events
==Recent History and Key Events==
On December 2, 2008, the United States Capitol Visitor Center opened to the public, the same date the dome finished in 1863, with the building dedicated to tell the history of the site and act as a starting point for tours of the Capitol. The center was built underground on the east side of the Capitol in order to keep the main view of the Capitol Building and Grounds clear of obstruction, with the building itself being about 580,000 square feet. Over the last decade in 2012-2016, extensive restoration has taken place on the building. Roughly $61 million had been appropriated for external renovation, while over $20 million had already been spent on work around the dome. From 2014-2016, extensive scaffolding covered the dome. The work was also pushed quickly so that the 2017 inauguration of President would not have the scaffolding as part of the view. The work was finished just prior to the 2016 election, with working finishing in September of that year.
In addition to inaugurations that have taken place in Washington D.C. since 1801, the Capitol has been part of key historical events. Every year, the building serves as a key site for Independence Day celebrations and fireworks as well as National Memorial Day concerts. In Martin Luther King's famous March on Washington in August 1963, the Capitol was not used as the site of the events and speech since the goal of the march was not to make members of Congress feel under attack or siege but rather that they were part of the process of creating a more equal society. Many other protests, including against the Vietnam War and Iraq war, were held near the Capitol and along the National Mall. There have been various violent events within the Captiol over the years. In 1835, there was an attempted assassination of Andrew Jackson. In 1856, senator Preston Brooks viciously beat Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner with a cane over the issue of slavery, which Brooks had strongly supported. There was a small explosion caused by dynamite in 1915 on the 4th of July weekend in 1915 when a former Harvard University professor Erich Muenter had exploded the dynamite due to Congress funding Great Britain while the United States was officially neutral in World War I. In 1954, Puerto Rican nationalists entered the House gallery where they began firing indiscriminately with their handguns before being stopped and arrested. Five members of congress were hurt. In 1971 and 1983, two bombings that caused minor damage went off.