A Library for You: Experience the Library of Congress
The Library of Congress is creating an all new visitor experience that will invite visitors to discover more of the Library’s treasures, programs and service on behalf of the American people. We call this new visitor experience A Library for You.
We’ve developed a blueprint that transforms the experience for the nearly 2 million people who visit the Library each year. Over the next few years, construction will bring a new look and feel to exhibitions and experiences that showcase the Library’s collections and expertise.
Features of this Library for You include:
Orientation Gallery: Visitors will enter this ground-level orientation gallery in the Thomas Jefferson Building that will help them navigate the Library and understand its history, mission and offerings. The gallery will be built around Thomas Jefferson’s personal library, and it will give visitors a fuller view of the national library today with its wide variety of collections, media and programs.
Treasures Gallery: Did you know the Library has two original drafts of the Gettysburg Address and the contents of President Abraham Lincoln’s pockets on the night he was assassinated? Are you aware the Library holds Thomas Jefferson’s rough draft of the Declaration of Independence, complete with edits suggested by John Adams and Benjamin Franklin in the margins? When the Library’s new Treasures Gallery is complete, gems such as these will be available for all Americans to discover.
Kislak Gallery: This new exhibition space will share a fuller history of the early Americas, featuring the acclaimed Jay I. Kislak Collection of artifacts, paintings, maps, rare books and documents. “Voices of the Early Americas: The Jay I. Kislak Collection” will explore both the history of the Native cultures of the Americas before colonization by Europeans and the aftermath of that event. Curators aim to show how complicated this story is, how Native American cultures were violently conquered, sometimes enslaved, and how vibrant they are today. This history continues to inspire many people, including modern artists, writers and poets, whose works will also be featured.
Learning Center: This exciting and interactive space will invite young visitors to explore the diversity of the Library’s collections, including millions of books, films and video, audio recordings, photographs, newspapers, maps and manuscripts. With collections so vast that one may not know where to start, this engaging new space will inspire visitors to ask questions and find answers.
A transformation of this nature requires a significant investment. Congress has generously funded the initiative with $40 million and $20 million more raised from private donations. We are grateful that with this support, the Library will engage more Americans in their national library – A Library for You.
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