After 10 years "American Treasures of the Library of Congress," an unprecedented exhibition of rare and unique items in the nation's library, closes on Aug. 18.
Over the past decade, approximately 2.5 million visitors have viewed more than 2,700 treasured historical items from the world's largest library, as the items have rotated through the exhibition. These include the original rough draft of the Declaration of Independence, the contents of Abraham Lincoln's pockets on the night of his assassination, the first motion picture and the first baseball card.
The exhibition has featured seven special displays comprising an additional 500 items. These presentations have commemorated Benjamin Franklin's 300th birthday (2006), the 150th anniversary of the publication of Walt Whitman's "Leaves of Grass" (2005), the centennial of flight (2003) and the centennial of The MacDowell Colony (2007).
"'American Treasures of the Library of Congress' opened in May 1997 to mark the official reopening of the magnificently renovated and restored Thomas Jefferson Building in its 100th anniversary year," said Librarian of Congress James H. Billington. "The exhibition will close next month to enable construction of a new interactive experience for Library visitors, which will open in 2008."
A decade after the Jefferson Building was reopened to the public, the Library will provide visitors with a bold new way to experience the grandeur of the building and the unparalleled resources housed within. (See Information Bulletin, September 2006.) With a theme of "Bringing Knowledge into Life," the new presentations will capitalize on the construction of the Capitol Visitor Center and the tunnel connecting the Capitol with the Thomas Jefferson Building. The anticipated increase in visitors—from 2-3 million more each year—as a result of this passageway has prompted the Library to design what it hopes will be the top tourist attraction for those coming to the nation's capital from around the world.
"American Treasures," which has been made possible by generous support from the Xerox Corporation, will remain accessible at www.loc.gov/exhibits/treasures/.