Cherish your class photo, ’cause your kids may not get one.

It’s a staple of the middle-school class visit to Washington: A photo of students arrayed on the steps of the Grant Memorial, with the Capitol dome as a backdrop. But now, just like permission for filmmakers to stage shots there and the Trust for the National Mall’s ability to fund renovations, that privilege could be in jeopardy as a result of the transfer of Union Square from the National Park Service to the Architect of the Capitol.

That’s what the folks at Central Photo Company are worried about, at least. Staffer James Jernigan says when they first asked the Capitol Police whether they’d still be allowed to take photos at the Grant memorial, they got a “no.” That would be a big problem for his business when school tour season gets going in the spring, and so they’ve kicked off an e-mail writing campaign to the relevant authorities in advance of a meeting next week.

The Capitol Police aren’t offering any assurances at the moment. “The USCP and Capitol Police Board are working with our stakeholders and their constituents to address all matters related to the transfer of this parcel of land during this transitional period,” said spokeswoman Kimberly Schneider in a statement.


UPDATE, 4:45 p.m. – The Senate Sergeant at Arms has clarified that such portraits may continue!

Photo courtesy Central Photo Company