April 13, 2000 (REVISED April 13, 2000) Bicentennial Celebration Announced

Library of Congress to Offer New Web Site, Stamp, Coins, Exhibits and Concert

Contact: Craig D'Ooge (202) 707-9189, Helen Dalrymple (202) 707-1940

General Colin Powell, Katharine Graham, Isaac Stern, William Styron, David Copperfield, John Kenneth Galbraith, Jeanne Kirkpatrick, Maurice Sendak, Bobby Short, and Big Bird are among those who will be honored as "Living Legends" during a day-long National Bicentennial Birthday Party and Concert celebrating the 200th anniversary of the founding of the Library of Congress on Monday, April 24, beginning at 9:30 a.m. The Library of Congress is America's oldest federal cultural institution and the largest library in the world.

Other events on April 24 include:

  • First-day ceremonies for a new Library of Congress postage stamp and commemorative coins
  • Launch of a new Web site for young people and their families
  • Unveiling of a national public service advertising campaign in partnership with the Ad Council
  • Free performances and concert celebrating American music, history and culture and recognizing the contribution of the "Living Legends"
  • Opening of a major exhibition on Thomas Jefferson and another on "The Wizard of Oz"

Key press dates prior to April 24 are:

Press Briefing
10 a.m., Friday, April 14
National Press Club, 529 14th Street NW

Bicentennial press briefing with Librarian of Congress James H. Billington on the Library's efforts to address the digital divide. He will also announce the final details of the April 24 celebration, the new books just published on the Library of Congress, and the full list of the "Living Legends" whose creativity the Library is honoring in its Bicentennial year.

Exhibits Preview and Light Lunch
11 a.m. - 1:30 p.m., Thursday, April 20
LJ 119, Thomas Jefferson Building

Members of the press are invited to preview two new exhibitions created for the Library's Bicentennial: "Thomas Jefferson" and "The Wizard of Oz: An American Fairy Tale."

The Jefferson exhibition includes the display of Jefferson's library. It marks the first time since 1815 that the public will be able to view Jefferson's library, the seed from which the collections of the Library of Congress grew, in his original order. The books have been reassembled after a worldwide search to locate matching volumes, identical to those that were destroyed in a fire in 1851. Numerous additional personal items will be displayed exploring the contradictions and complexities of Jefferson the man, the myth, and the model, including materials relating to the Hemings family, the founding of the United States and the earliest known draft of the Declaration of Independence in Jefferson's own hand.

"The Wizard of Oz: An American Fairy Tale" brings together approximately 100 items relating to this children's classic, including play scripts, rare books, photographs, costumes, drawings, film clips, dolls, games and toys. A pair of the ruby slippers (size 5B) worn by Judy Garland in the 1939 film will be displayed, along with the scarecrow costume worn by Ray Bolger, the mane and beard worn by Bert Lahr as the Cowardly Lion, a full Munchkin costume and an Emerald City townsman's coat.

Curators will provide press tours of the two exhibitions.

All day, Monday, April 24
Thomas Jefferson Building

9:30 a.m.-10:30 a.m., Great Hall
First day of issue stamp and coin ceremonies. Stamps and coins on sale.

11 a.m.- 11:45 a.m., Visitors' Center
Press Preview. Launch of a new entertaining Web site for children and their families. New public service advertising campaign unveiled for television, radio and Web, in partnership with The Ad Council.

Noon - 2:30 p.m., East Lawn of the Capitol
Free performances and concert at 1st Street and Independence Avenue S.E. honoring American Voice and Song, featuring Gen. Colin Powell, Sesame Street's Big Bird and Maria, The Saturday Night Live Band, Pete Seeger and Tao Rodriguez, Ralph Stanley and The Clinch Mountain Boys, Kathy Mattea, Tito Puente, Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, Giovanni Hidalgo, Smokey Town Singers, The Army Blues, Dianne Reeves, David Copperfield, Mickey Hart and Bob Weir, Kan Kouran Dancers, David Sanchez, Eastern High School Choir

12:30 p.m., Main stage outside of the Thomas Jefferson Building
Photo Opportunity: Librarian of Congress James Billington will be joined by "Living Legends" and Big Bird and Maria of "Sesame Street" in blowing out the candles on a large birthday cake in the shape of the Thomas Jefferson Building.

6:30 p.m., Great Hall
Remarks by David McCullough and Librarian of Congress James H. Billington and opening reception for "Thomas Jefferson" exhibition. By invitation only; open to press to cover.


PR 00-048
ISSN 0731-3527