The Office of the Capitol Commission, the administrative and operational arms of the Nebraska Capitol Commission, is staffed by highly skilled professionals who maintain the Nebraska State Capitol as the seat of Nebraska’s three branches of State Government.
In addition to providing the functional setting for the activities of the Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches, the Nebraska Capitol and Grounds is a Landmark on the National Register of Historic Places.
Thousands of visitors come to tour the Capitol each year because of its historic and architectural significance. The Office of the Capitol Commission staff works to provide staff and visitors the best possible service. In 2004, Nebraska’s Unicameral Legislature created the Office of the Capitol Commission and transferred the management and preservation of the Nebraska State Capitol to the new agency.
The Office of the Capitol Commission is responsible for the daily management and ongoing preservation of the Capitol. With approximately 900 people working in the Capitol daily, caring for the Capitol is like caring for a Nebraska town. Lead by the Capitol Administrator, OCC has seven functional areas: administration, archive, carpentry, custodial, grounds, mechanical/electrical maintenance, and tours and promotion. The Office of the Capitol Commission includes the Administrator, Preservation Architects, Capitol Manager, Facilities Construction Coordinator, and Administrative Assistant.
The Capitol Archivist oversees the Nebraska Capitol Collections, which include the archive and the furniture collection. Carpentry staff includes the Shop Supervisor, two Furniture Conservators, a Furniture Finisher, a Cabinet Maker, a Hardware Conservator and a Mason. The Custodial Shop is staffed by the Capitol Conservation Supervisor and two Custodial Leaders. Grounds maintenance duties are shared with State Building Division; an Arborist/ Groundskeeper and Mechanic are OCC staff. Mechanical/Electrical Maintenance staff includes the Shop Supervisor, a Plumber, a Sheet Metal Fabricator, an Electrician and a Maintenance Specialist. The Tour Program has a Tourism Supervisor, three Tourism Aides and retired volunteers to staff the information desk. The Administrative Staff plans and oversees Capitol renovation and restoration projects, such as interior office renovations, mechanical system upgrades and the Exterior Masonry Restoration Project. The administrative staff does budget planning and serves the administrative needs of the Nebraska Capitol Commission.
The Capitol Archivist organizes the Nebraska Capitol Collection, a large collection of three dimensional objects and paper. The Capitol Commission charged with the 1922-32 construction of architect Bertram Goodhue’s Capitol filled a vault with documentation of their activity, including meeting minutes, correspondence, architectural drawings and receipts. The Archivist conserves and catalogs these two dimensional objects which are a valuable resource used by OCC staff for reference. When completed in 1932, the Capitol was furnished with new desks, tables, chairs, and associated office accessories.
These furnishings form the Furniture Collection and the Archivist keeps a full inventory of all these three dimensional objects. The Office of the Capitol Commission provides as much of the original furniture as possible to Capitol occupants for use. OCC also consults with the Legislative and Judicial branches as they purchase new compatible furniture for their offices. The Carpentry Shop is staffed by tradesmen skilled in conservation who are responsible for the preservation and restoration of the Furniture Collection.
In addition to the furnishings, Carpentry staff maintains the hundreds of doors and blinds in the Capitol. Two members of the staff have very specialized duties. The Mason cleans and repairs the limestone and marble surfaces in the Capitol and is skilled at plaster repair. The Machinist is responsible for maintaining the locksets and door closers on the hundreds of doors in the Capitol and can manufacture replacements parts for any broken or missing decorative bronze component in the building. The Custodial Shop is responsible for cleaning the Capitol. OCC staff clean the highly ornamental preservation spaces associated with the functions of the three branches of government and a custodial contractor cleans the adaptive use general office space in the Capitol.
Custodial staff maintains the decorative marble tile floors and the general circulation or corridor floors. In addition to daily sweeping and burnishing, floors are stripped and refinished twice annually. The Grounds Maintenance Staff care for the trees, shrubs, and turf which make up the historic landscape on the four square block site of the Nebraska State Capitol.
In addition to landscape maintenance, the grounds staff maintains the underground irrigation system, removes snow from the sidewalks and entrances at the Capitol, helps with special event setup, helps with general office moves and property surplus. The grounds staff’s work at the Capitol is a component of the grounds maintenance they do on the many state facilities in Lincoln. The Mechanical/Electrical Maintenance Shop is responsible for the mechanical and electrical systems within the Capitol.
From running and maintaining the heating and cooling system to changing light bulbs to keeping thirty restrooms working, OCC’s maintenance shop has diverse responsibilities. The electricians on staff care for the many ornamental bronze chandeliers in service.
Annually the chandelier’s wiring is checked for wear and repaired or replaced. The plumber not only maintains the restrooms facilities in the Capitol but also is called upon to repair and rebuild pumps which move water through the Capitol. OCC’s sheet metal fabricator supports the activities of other staff and is responsible for maintaining just over 2 ½ acres of copper roof on the Capitol. The Capitol Tour Office provides free guided tours daily, provides a variety of brochures, and responds to requests for information about the Capitol.
Each spring guides provide tours for over 30,000 Nebraska fourth graders. The Capitol and Grounds are Registered National Historic Landmarks and attract almost 100,000 visitors from Nebraska, the United States and the world each year. The Capitol is also the site for news conferences, rallies, award ceremonies, programs, and concerts. The Tourism Supervisor coordinates special events, working with groups to see that official functions of government and special activities are compatible. The Tourism Supervisor is also responsible for creating brochures and managing the Capitol’s website. For more information about the Nebraska State Capitol please contact the Capitol Tour Office at (402) 471-0448.