All events are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted. For information, please contact: [email protected]. Please request ADA accommodations at least five business days in advance at: (202) 707-6362 (voice/TTY) or email: [email protected]. Unless otherwise noted, lectures and talks are sponsored by The Royal Danish Embassy Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark, Danish Ministry of Culture, and Danish Agency for Culture and Palaces; The Royal Danish Embassy.


Thirty-minute highlights tours of the exhibition will be offered to the public at 1 p.m. on Mondays, Fridays, and Saturdays for the duration of Jacob Riis: Revealing “How the Other Half Lives.”

Please meet the docent by the 2nd floor visitor information desk near the entrance to the Southwest Exhibition Gallery, Second Floor, Thomas Jefferson Building. No reservations are necessary. Tours subject to docent availability; last-minute cancellations may occur. 

To submit a request for a reserved group tour (up to 20 people), please email [email protected] with preferred dates and times (Mon-Fri 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.). Two-week advance notice is requested; tour scheduling is dependent on docent availability. Tour requests are not confirmed until receipt of written reservation.

Hands-On Learning Cart

Volunteers stationed at a cart inside Jacob Riis: Revealing “How the Other Half Lives” will invite visitors of all ages to explore late nineteenth-century photographic equipment and related materials to learn about the stories and technologies behind the creation of Riis’s works on display. Cart schedule will vary depending on volunteer availability. For more information, please check at any of the visitor information desks in the Thomas Jefferson Building.

Family Guide

Families may explore Jacob Riis: Revealing “How the Other Half Lives” using a guide available upon request at any of the visitor information desks in the Thomas Jefferson Building. The guide encourages families to explore the exhibition by looking closely, asking questions, and sharing what they learn about reporter and reformer Jacob Riis. Recommended for ages 8 and up.

Gallery Talks

A series of noontime gallery talks on Wednesdays will be given by Library curators and specialists in the South Gallery, 2nd Floor, Thomas Jefferson Building for the duration of the Jacob Riis: Revealing “How the Other Half Lives” exhibition. Each Talk will last approximately thirty minutes.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016, 12 noon
Barbara Bair, Manuscript Division, and Cheryl Regan, Interpretive Programs Office, will co-present, “Jacob Riis: The Making of an Exhibition”

Wednesday, April 27, 2016, 12 noon
Taru Spiegel, European Division, will present, “From Denmark to New York: Jacob Riis, ‘The Ideal American Citizen’”

Wednesday, May 4, 2016, 12 noon
Mike Mashon, Motion Picture, Broadcasting, and Recorded Sound Division, will present, “Capturing Jacob Riis’ New York: Films from the Library’s Paper Print Collection”

Wednesday, May 11, 2016, 12 noon
Ryan Reft, Manuscript Division, and Ed Redmond, Geography & Map Division, will co-present, “Revealing ‘How the Other Half Lived’ in Tenements through the Fire Insurance Maps Series’”

Wednesday, May 18, 2016, 12 noon
Barbara Bair, Manuscript Division, will present, “The Children of the Poor’”

Wednesday, June 1, 2016, 12 noon
Barbara Natanson, Prints and Photographs Division, will present, “Lewis Hine, Documentary Photographer”

Wednesday, June 8, 2016, 12 noon
Michelle Krowl, Manuscript Division, will present, “‘Midnight Tours:’ The Transformative Friendship of Jacob Riis and Theodore Roosevelt”

Wednesday, June 22, 2016, 12 noon
Helena Zinkham, Director, Collections & Services, will present, “Camilo José Vergara: Documenting the Changing Urban Environment Over Time”

Wednesday, June 29, 2016, 12 noon
Mark Dimunation, Rare Book and Special Collections Division, will present, “How the Other Half Lives”

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Book Talks and Lectures

Thursday, April 14, 2016, 12 noon, European Division Conference Room (LJ-250), Second floor, Thomas Jefferson Building
Author and photographer Marshall H. Cohen will discuss his new book Denmark: A Photographer's Odyssey. European Division program co-sponsored by the Interpretive Programs Office in conjunction with the Library of Congress exhibition, Jacob Riis: Revealing “How the Other Half Lives.”

Monday, May 23, 2016, 12 noon, Pickford Theater, Third floor, James Madison Building
Author Bonnie Yochelson will present her new book, Jacob Riis: Revealing New York’s Other Half (Yale University in association with the Library of Congress and Museum of the City of New York, 2015). Books & Beyond program co-sponsored by the Interpretive Programs Office in conjunction with the Library of Congress exhibition, Jacob Riis: Revealing “How the Other Half Lives.”


All three films will be screened at the Library’s Packard Campus Theater, 19053 Mt. Pony Rd. Culpeper, VA  22701. Packard Campus programs are free and open to the public, but children 12 younger must be accompanied by an adult. Open seating is on a “first come, first served” basis.  The theater lobby will open 45 minutes before show time. For more information, please call 202-707-9994 or visit //

“Pay or Die” (Allied Artists, 1960)
Friday, May 6 (7:30 p.m.), Packard Campus Theater, Culpeper, Virginia
After he scored a big hit with the 1959 picture “Al Capone,” Allied Artists hired director/producer Richard Wilson for another Italian mobster movie, this one set in early twentieth-century New York City. The story is based on the actual account of New York Police Lieutenant Joseph Petrosino (played with gritty realism by Ernest Borgnine), an Italian American police detective who earned the respect of the immigrants in Little Italy and formed the Italian Squad of the police department in 1905 to battle “The Black Hand,” the old Sicilian term for the Mafia. Borgnine spoke fluent Italian so had no trouble with the Italian dialogue used throughout the film. Wilson directs in a docu-realist style and Lucien Ballard’s unobtrusive black and white photography brings out the period detail in the street scene sets.

“Hester Street” (Midwest films, 1975)
Saturday, May 7 (2 p.m.), Packard Campus Theater, Culpeper, Virginia
Writer-director Joan Micklin Silver's first feature-length film, “Hester Street” was an adaption of preeminent Yiddish author Abraham Cahan's 1896 well-received first novel “Yekl: A Tale of the New York Ghetto.” The film brought to the screen a portrait of Eastern European Jewish life in America that historians have praised for its accuracy of detail and sensitivity to the challenges immigrants faced during their acculturation process. Shot in black-and-white and partly in Yiddish with English subtitles, the independent production focuses on stresses that occur when a “greenhorn” wife, played by Carol Kane (nominated for an Academy Award for her portrayal), and her young son arrive in New York City to join her Americanized husband. Silver, one of the first women directors of American features to emerge during the women's liberation movement, shifted the story’s emphasis from the husband, as in the novel, to the wife. The film was added to the National Film Registry in 2011.

“Ragtime” (Paramount, 1981)
Saturday, May 7 (7:30 p.m.), Packard Campus Theater, Culpeper, Virginia
Based on E.L. Doctorow’s best-selling historical novel of the same name, this multifaceted story, set in the New York City area from 1902 until 1912, weaves together the stories of both fictional and historically prominent characters such as Stanford White, Evelyn Nesbit, Harry Houdini, and Booker T. Washington. Perhaps best remembered today as the film that brought James Cagney back to the big screen after a twenty-year absence, the huge ensemble cast includes other seasoned veterans, such as Donald O’Connor and Pat O’Brien, as well as a number of actors in the early days of their careers, such as Mandy Patinkin, Mary Steenburgen, Debbie Allen, and Jeff Daniels in his screen debut. Elizabeth McGovern and Howard E. Rollins Jr. both received Best Supporting Acting nominations. Directed by Milos Forman, the film garnered six additional Oscar nominations including Randy Newman for Best Original Score, Miroslav Ondrícek for Best Cinematography and Michael Weller for Best Adapted Screenplay.

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Special Events

Special Performance: The Patriotic Magic-Lantern Show!
Friday, July 1, 2016, 11 a.m.–12 Noon (doors open at 10:30 a.m.)
Coolidge Auditorium, Ground Level, Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First St. S.E.

Authentic 1890s visual extravaganza projected on a full-sized screen—the kind of show that led to the movies. Fun! ~~ National Public Radio says, “If they come to your town, don’t miss them. They’re a living national treasure!”

This family-friendly event is presented in conjunction with the exhibition, Jacob Riis: Revealing “How the Other Half Lived.” Free and open to the public. No tickets required, but seating is limited on a first-come, first-served basis. Doors open 30 minutes before show time. Children 12 and younger must be accompanied by an adult.

Click here for a press release with details about this free public event.

Young Readers Center Official Theme Day; Reflecting on Jacob Riis
Tuesday, July 12, 2016, 10 a.m.–3 p.m.
Young Readers Center (LJ-G29), Ground Level, Thomas Jefferson Building

Join the Young Readers Center for their second of four STEAM focused days of interactive activities. Explore the social, scientific and creative aspect of journalism and photography with a special focus on the works of Jacob Riis. For ages 8 – 16. The Young Readers Center collection will be available for all ages accompanied by an adult.

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