On July 22-23, the Library of Congress will be showcasing displays of many of our national treasures in Wilmington, OH.
share: f t
On July 22-23, the Library of Congress will be showcasing displays of many of our national treasures in Wilmington, OH. This exhibition titled "Gateway to Knowledge" brings unparalleled access to this public collection to the doorsteps of Americans. The traveling exhibit is transported in a specially fitted 18-wheel truck, and is expected to visit up to 60 sites in states across the Midwest and South. The truck, which is staffed and driven by two docents well-versed in the Library and its collections, will be parked at the Wilmington Public Library of Clinton County located at 268 N. South St. from 10:00-6:00 on both days.

The trailer of the 18-wheeler expands to three times its road width, with all visitors entering from a central staircase. Inside are several areas of museum-style exhibits including an introductory multimedia display, computer terminals displaying Library of Congress websites, other library websites including the Center for the Book/Literacy Programs site (www.read.gov) and sites pertaining to U.S. collections and exhibitions.

The "Gateway to Knowledge" also outlines the history of the Library of Congress, including Thomas Jefferson’s role in allowing its re-establishment following the burning of the U.S. Capitol in 1814. Jefferson, our third president, sold his personal collection of 6,487 books to the nation. In fact, his organization of his books by "Memory, Reason and Imagination" forms the organization of the exhibition.

The exhibit features facsimiles of such irreplaceable documents as the 1507 Waldseemüller Map - the first document to use the word "America"; the 1455 Gutenberg Bible; the rough draft of the Declaration of Independence, written in Thomas Jefferson’s hand with edits by Benjamin Franklin and John Adams; and the 1962 drawings for the comic book that introduced Spider-Man to the world.

Founded in 1800, the Library of Congress is the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution. As the de facto national library, the Library of Congress promotes literacy and American literature through projects such as the American Folklife Center, American Memory, Center for the Book and the Poet Laureate. This special visit is an opportunity for young and old alike who want to take a moment to experience our nation’s history.

If you’d like to see these rare documents in person while on your next visit to Washington D.C., please contact my office at (202) 225-6465 to set-up a tour of the main Library of Congress building.