One of the most treasured buildings in Washington D.C. is the Library of Congress. Located on Capitol Hill and comprised of three buildings as well as an award winning website, it is “the largest library in the world.” Opened in 1800 The Library of Congress is the collective intellect of the Native America, Colonial America, and the present day United States as well as world influences upon its inhabitants. This historical building is a reminder of the power of freedom of speech and should be on every student travel itinerary.
Library of Congress to be Connected to the Capitol
Grounded in history, The Library of Congress still stays abreast of the times, by bringing a new interactive exhibit and experience for visitors. Soon there will be a passageway between the Library of Congress and The Capitol. The Library of Congress is connected to the Capitol in more then one way. It serves as the research branch of the legislature.
There are several individual library collections within the Library of Congress worth touring. A docent is provided by the LOC to make certain student travel groups have an excellent experience and receive knowledgeable answers to their questions.
Thomas Jefferson’s Library
Perhaps the most influential donor, one who helped create the library by giving 6,487 volumes for its creation, was Thomas Jefferson. Similar to Benjamin Franklin, who helped initiate the Free Library of Philadelphia, Jefferson believed in the power of books to transform the individual and society. His library was divided into three categories that were part of the organization of the British library during his day: memory, reason, and imagination. The Library of Congress carefully preserves his cataloguing system for the exhibition. The Jefferson collection highlights his fascination for subjects such as philosophy, religion, building and architecture. Thomas Jefferson’s library also reveals some books he received from a lifelong friend, John Quincy Adams.
Lesson Plans and Classroom Materials from the Library of Congress
For the teacher who wants to prepare students for a visit to The Library of Congress, there are some excellent materials for use, available online at http://www.loc.gov/teachers. There are learning modules on American photography archives, history, and all types of artistic works such as performing arts, creative arts, crafts, and music. Although some may only think of the Library of Congress as a repository of books, it is really a place for all types of records: audio, video, photography, original art, and more. The Library of Congress is a great way to delve into the culture of the United States, and celebrate its diversity.
Exploring the Early Americas
Exhibitions at the Library of Congress also include a thorough exploration of pre and post colonial and Early American maps and documents as well as information and artifacts on first contact between Europeans and Native Americans.
Creating the United States
Creating the United States is another popular exhibit for student travelers. Our founding fathers are celebrated by revealing many original writings and documents that pre-dated the official Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights.
The preservation and display of important documents is essential. The Library of Congress is also a repository for catalogued artistic production in the United States. The professional staff and docents at the Library of Congress are well versed in their discipline, and eager to inform and educate student travel groups.
For assistance crafting a custom itinerary for your student travel group that includes a trip to the Library of Congress, email firstname.lastname@example.org and a member of our staff will reply to you quickly.