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  • The Library of Congress in Washington DC is described by guests, as one of the most appreciated sites we visit on our Personalized DC Sightseeing Tours. It is the oldest federal cultural institution in the United States. The Library is housed in three buildings on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.,

  • Approaching the Jefferson Building, visitors encounter what was at the time the most lavishly ornamental fountain in the country. The creation of sculptor Ronald Hinton Perry, it immediately introduces classical culture as a basic theme of the Jefferson Building. The colossal figures of Neptune, the Roman god of the seas, presides over a collection of other bronze allegorical inhabitants of the ocean.
  • The two great staircases flanking the Great Hall are embellished by elaborate sculptural work by Philip Martiny. At the base of each is a bronze female figure wearing classic drapery and holding a torch of knowledge.
  • The cherubs in the ascending railing of each staircase represent the various occupations, habits, and pursuits of modern life.
  • The Jefferson Building is a heroic setting for a national institution, a unique blending of art and architecture that is celebratory, inspirational and educational. Few structures represent human aspiration in such dramatic fashions.
  • The names of the construction engineers and architects are inscribed on a marble tablet above a commemorative arch at the center of the east side of the Great Hall.
  • The Thomas Jefferson Building is described by guests, as one of the most appreciated sites we visit on our Personalized DC Sightseeing Tours. It is the oldest federal cultural institution in the United States. The Library is housed in three buildings on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.,
  • The Thomas Jefferson Building is described by guests, as one of the most appreciated sites we visit on our Personalized DC Sightseeing Tours. It is the oldest federal cultural institution in the United States. The Library is housed in three buildings on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.,
  • The Thomas Jefferson Building is described by guests, as one of the most appreciated sites we visit on our Personalized DC Sightseeing Tours. It is the oldest federal cultural institution in the United States. The Library is housed in three buildings on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.,
  • The Thomas Jefferson Building is described by guests, as one of the most appreciated sites we visit on our Personalized DC Sightseeing Tours. It is the oldest federal cultural institution in the United States. The Library is housed in three buildings on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.,
  • The Thomas Jefferson Building is described by guests, as one of the most appreciated sites we visit on our Personalized DC Sightseeing Tours. It is the oldest federal cultural institution in the United States. The Library is housed in three buildings on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.,
  • The Thomas Jefferson Building is described by guests, as one of the most appreciated sites we visit on our Personalized DC Sightseeing Tours. It is the oldest federal cultural institution in the United States. The Library is housed in three buildings on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.,
  • The Thomas Jefferson Building is described by guests, as one of the most appreciated sites we visit on our Personalized DC Sightseeing Tours. It is the oldest federal cultural institution in the United States. The Library is housed in three buildings on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.,
  • The Thomas Jefferson Building is described by guests, as one of the most appreciated sites we visit on our Personalized DC Sightseeing Tours. It is the oldest federal cultural institution in the United States. The Library is housed in three buildings on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.,
  • The Thomas Jefferson Building is described by guests, as one of the most appreciated sites we visit on our Personalized DC Sightseeing Tours. It is the oldest federal cultural institution in the United States. The Library is housed in three buildings on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.,
  • The Thomas Jefferson Building is described by guests, as one of the most appreciated sites we visit on our Personalized DC Sightseeing Tours. It is the oldest federal cultural institution in the United States. The Library is housed in three buildings on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.,
  • The Thomas Jefferson Building is described by guests, as one of the most appreciated sites we visit on our Personalized DC Sightseeing Tours. It is the oldest federal cultural institution in the United States. The Library is housed in three buildings on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.,
  • The Thomas Jefferson Building is described by guests, as one of the most appreciated sites we visit on our Personalized DC Sightseeing Tours. It is the oldest federal cultural institution in the United States. The Library is housed in three buildings on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.,

Upon entering The Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress, many of our guests are speechless! There is nothing else like it in Washington, DC, and many visitors feel there is nothing like this building in the entire New World.

But the most amazing aspect of this Library of Congress is that it is still standing after 124 years! Many early Libraries of Congress burned – the first Library was burned by the British in 1814 but there were many more fires at Library of Congress sites –including large fires in 1826 and 1851.

Luckily, the present Library of Congress building was funded in 1876 and built on a parallel timeline to the invention of the light bulb in the late 1870’s. When the Jefferson Building finally opened in 1897 it was electrified. At that time it was heralded as the safest library in the world.

Throughout your visit to the Library of Congress, you will notice electric light bulbs everywhere – many outlining the area above mosaics and panels. The builders of this library made sure to pay architectural homage to the advances in electricity that allowed them to create a safe haven for literary treasures.

There are two breathtaking main areas within the Jefferson Building, easy to see on a quick visit: the magnificent Great Hall and the Reading Room located under the 288-foot tall dome.

The Great Hall is an elaborate three story chamber containing endless mosaics, friezes and painted panels devoted to the history of the knowledge – including a giant zodiac imbedded in the floor; above is an exquisite stained glass ceiling. While you wander about this level don’t miss one of three remaining original Guttenburg Bibles in the world on display there. On the way upstairs to the second floor you’ll use marble staircases carved with Putti – little cherubs – some posed as industrious Americans: a fisherman, a chemist, a cook while other putti represent literary genres of Comedy, Tragedy, and Poetry.

The second floor leads to several side wings containing special displays: Thomas Jefferson’s original Library as well as an enlargement of the very first map to use the word ”America” and many more rotating displays. After viewing the exhibits in the wings you’ll be greeted by an immense mosaic of Minerva, Goddess of Wisdom welcoming you to the overlook of the Reading Room on the third floor under the dome.

When you are called to enter the overlook (usually 4-6 persons at a time) you will soon be standing in a large plexiglass clad balcony where you can view the immense Reading Room below as well as large statues of great literary geniuses positioned around the dome at about your own eye level. The books visible in the Reading Room below are all in the ancestry collection of the library of Congress where members can do genealogy research.