Library of Congress
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The Library of Congress is the largest study in the world, and extends across three buildings on Capitol Hill in the capital, Washington, DC.
The three houses include; the John Adams Building on the 2nd Street SE, between the East Capitol Street and Independence Avenue, the James Madison Memorial Building found along the 101 Independence Avenue SE, and the Thomas Jefferson Building on 101 Independence Avenue SE. It is open from Monday to Saturday from 8:30 a.m to 4:30 pm.
The Library of Congress is the research center of the United States Congress, and the national library of America.
It has more than 164 million items, ranging from books, recordings, photos, maps and many more. It is also a museum where numerous exhibits are displayed inside the Thomas Jefferson Building.
We’ve highlighted some of the activities you should partake on your visit to the library in the capital, Washington, DC.
All the three buildings housing the library can be accessed for free. The John Adams and James Madison buildings are mainly used for research purposes. The Thomas Jefferson building opens its doors from Monday to Saturday from 8:30 am to 5 p.m. but closes on Sunday, New year, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.
Visiting the Library of Congress
The Thomas Jefferson Building Guided Tour
The Thomas Jefferson building offers the best visitor experience. You’re dazzled upon walking in. The building boasts of Gilded age architectural designs , making the interior a classical masterpiece. It is a work of art that houses an immense amount of knowledge. Once you’re done with admiring and taking pictures of this architectural masterpiece, it’s time to explore the many exhibits in the building. There is a free one-hour walking tour of the Thomas Jefferson Building, where you’ll learn about its history, art and architecture. There is also an online tour for those who can’t make it to Washington. You can also enjoy specialised tours of a specific exhibition or topic.
Among the most notable exhibits in the library include; The Legacy of George and Ira Gershwin, which reveals the lives and times of the two siblings and their influence on the modern style of music. The Swann gallery reveals more about the history of animations, political cartoons, caricatures, comics and animation art.At the Herblock Gallery you’ll learn about the visionary work of political cartoonist Herbert L. Block. Exploring the Early Americas examines indigenous cultures and the encounters between Europeans and native Americans. You’ll get to understand how these interactions brought about changes in the American society.
Hope for America: performers, politics and pop cultures highlights the impressive career of pop artist Bob hope and others who used their work to influence the politics in America, and how it shaped the American society at that time. Another notable exhibition is the Mapping a Growing nation: From Independence to Statehood that showcases the first map of an independent America. It was compiled , and published by an American called Abel Buell.
There are countless exhibits inside the Thomas Jefferson Building put in a rotating display. Make sure that you check all the present-day exhibitions while visiting the Library of Congress.
Young Readers Center for Kids
Kids can find reading boring, but the Young Readers Center room was designed with the kids in mind. It is suitable for teens, kids and adults, and apart from reading books, they can be engaged in numerous fun activities that’ll keep them active during your trip.
The Library of Congress shop has unique items on sale, based on its wide collection. You’ll find souvenirs, photographs and prints, exhibit related items, and books for your family to read. The shop is open from Monday to Saturday from 9:30 in the morning to 5 p.m in the evening. By purchasing books and other related items from the library, you’ll be playing a key role in the preservation of American history and education.
The best way to get to the Library of Congress is to use public transport. You can use the Metrorail or opt for the DC Circulator’s Union Station-Navy yard Metro route. The latter stops on first street. From there it takes a short walk to reach the library.
The Library also hosts events and tours, which is posted on their events calendar. You can check it out and use it to plan your visits. There is also the National Books Festival annually, and often incorporates an open-air film gala during summer. Visit the Library of Congress and get to enjoy a first hand experience of American history.
Congress is responsible for declaring war. If you’re interested in the history of the U.S. in wars and want to pay tribute we suggest you also check out the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.