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Why You Should Visit the Library of Congress in DC

Posted by admin on April 16, 2018

If you are a regular reader of our Grayline DC blog then you will be well-aware of how fond we are of this great city. It doesn’t matter if you are a tourist or local citizen, there are always fantastic places to visit all year round. This week we are looking at the famous Library of Congress and you may be surprised to learn that this is the biggest library in the world and it really does make for a fascinating literary and historical experience. 

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What Can You Find in the Library of Congress?

You will find The Library of Congress housed across a total of three buildings on Capitol Hill in Washington DC and these are the Thomas Jefferson Building, the James Madison Memorial Building and the John Adams Building. The library is home to more than a staggering 164 million items including photos, records, maps, books and much, much more. There is also the museum to explore and with some incredible exhibits on display in the Thomas Jefferson Building. 

The library has a long history and is one of the most historical locations in the whole of Washington DC. Each building that we have mentioned above can be entered free of charge so it is an excellent tourist destination for those looking to learn a bit more about the city. Each building is open Monday – Saturday except for Christmas, Thanksgiving Day and New Year’s Day so there are plenty of opportunities to visit if you are in town. 

If visiting places of historical significance, then perhaps you'd also be interested in our Arlington National Cemetery and DC Memorials tour. Here you'll be able to visit other significant places of interest such as the White House, Lincoln Memorial and the Arlington National Cemetery!

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The Best Visitor Experience 

You can really appreciate the library in the Thomas Jefferson Building where it is possible to get the best visitor experience. You will be blown away just walking through the door and the Gilded Age architecture is simply stunning. It really is an interior visual masterpiece that you won’t find anywhere else so once you have taken some snaps for your Instagram account you can then begin to explore the building in its entirety. 

There are so many exhibits to enjoy and these are often ongoing meaning that displays are rotated throughout the year. If you like political cartoons then the Swann Gallery is a fun visit while the Herblock Gallery offers a look at some of the work by political cartoonist Herbert L. Block. The Thomas Jefferson Library offers a stunning glimpse into the Founding Father’s incredible collection of books so there really is plenty to see and do in this historical building. 

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Some other exhibits focus on Native American culture and the conflicts of the historical conflicts of these people with the various parts of Europe. Additionally, there are plenty of wartime exhibits to look at as well with the Echoes of the Great War: American Experiences of World War 1 particularly worth a visit. If you’ve visited the Smithsonian Natural Museum then you will absolutely love the Library of Congress so get in touch and we can help you plan your trip!

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