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Thomas Jefferson Building - Guided Tours

Take a free one-hour walking tour of the historic Thomas Jefferson building to learn about its symbolic art and architecture. Volunteer docents tell the story of the Library, America's oldest cultural institution: its history, collections, and services for Congress and the nation.

Public Tour Schedule

Public tours are available on a first-come, first-served basis without prior reservations. Individuals and families with no more than 10 members may join a public tour. Inquire at the Jefferson Building, Ground Floor Information Desk for availability at least 30 minutes prior to tour time.

Notice: The Library of Congress will be closed on Thanksgiving Day (November 23), Christmas Day (December 25) and New Year’s Day (January 1) in observance of those holidays.

Monday through Friday:

  • 9:30 a.m. (only March 26 through April 6 and Federal Holidays)
  • 10:30 a.m.
  • 11:30 a.m.
  • 12:30 p.m.
  • 1:30 p.m.
  • 2:30 p.m.
  • 3:30 p.m.

Saturday:

  • 10:30 a.m.
  • 11:30 a.m.
  • 1:30 p.m.
  • 2:30 p.m.

NOTE: On days with especially high visitation, the Library may offer a "build your own tour" experience with docents located throughout the building instead of a guided walking tour.

Special Public Offerings

Family Tour

10 a.m. 
April 28

For elementary children (ages 6 to 12) accompanied by an adult. Up to 25 participants (including adults) on a first-come, first-served basis. In order to accommodate as many children as possible, adult participation may be limited to 2 per extended family group. Tour leaves promptly from the Jefferson Ground Floor Center Information Desk.

Family Mythology Tour

10 a.m.
March 29
April 3 and 5

For children ages 8-14, this tour relates the Jefferson Building’s art and architecture to Roman and Greek mythology, incorporating stories about deities and demigods into the presentation. Children with an interest in and some knowledge of Greek mythology will get the most out of this tour.

Touch History: A verbal description tour of The Thomas Jefferson Building

Monthly: Second Saturday at 9:30 a.m.

Visitors with visual impairments are invited to experience a walking tour of the Thomas Jefferson Building. The Touch History tour is led by a specially trained docent, who uses vivid language to describe the building. For questions, please contact Visitor Services Office at [email protected] or 202–707–9779.

Whittall Pavilion and Musical Instruments: Open House

April 24
10 a.m. to noon

Periodically, the Library opens the Music Division's Whittall Pavilion for public viewing. A Visitor Services Office volunteer is on hand to describe and answer questions about the Whittall's Stradivari string instruments, flute collection and artwork. Visitors are invited to take advantage of these opportunities to experience this beautiful and intimate space.

Visitas Guiadas en español del edificio Thomas Jefferson

abril 10 y 24 (11 AM): abril 20 (1 PM)

La Oficina de Servicios al Visitante de la Biblioteca del Congreso ofrecerá visitas guiadas en español del edificio Thomas Jefferson. Las visitas están limitadas a 25 personas en orden de llegada. Reserve su espacio con 30 minutos de antelación al comienzo de la visita en el mostrador de información para visitantes que está localizado en la planta baja. Las visitas duran una hora aproximadamente y abarcan un preámbulo de la historia y servicios de la Biblioteca y el arte y la arquitectura del histórico edificio Thomas Jefferson. Solicite acomodaciones del Acta de Americanos con Discapacidades (ADA, sigla en inglés) con cinco días laborables de antelación a través del (202) 707-6362 o en [email protected].

Visites guidées de l’édifice Thomas Jefferson en français

Le 17 avril et le 24 avril à 11h

Le bureau des services aux visiteurs de la bibliothèque du Congrès propose des visites guidées en français de l’édifice Thomas Jefferson. Les visites sont limitées à 25 personnes par ordre d’arrivée. Réservez votre place 30 minutes avant le début de la visite au comptoir d’information du rez-de-chaussée. Les visites durent à peu près une heure et incluent un aperçu de l’histoire et des services offerts par la bibliothèque, ainsi que l’art et l’architecture de l’immeuble historique Thomas Jefferson. Pour les personnes en situation de handicap selon l’American Disability Act (acronyme ADA), veuillez contacter avec cinq jours ouvrables d’avance le (202) 707-6362 ou [email protected]

EXPLORE! CARTS

Evolution of the Book
Monday-Friday, 10:30 to 11:30 a.m.
Wednesdays, 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Explore the evolution of communication from prehistoric cave paintings to emoji and tablets. Docent’s choice of activities; examples include writing with Cuneiform on clay tablets, decoding oracle bones, practicing calligraphy with reed styluses and feather quills, or printing with moveable metal type. 

Jefferson Building Art and Architecture

Tuesdays: 1:30 to 2:30 p.m.
Wednesdays: 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.

Explore the impact of the industrial revolution on the design and construction of the Thomas Jefferson Building; learn about architectural symbolism of the Gilded Age; touch materials and tools used to build this historic building that has become the heart of the Library of Congress.

Location

The Thomas Jefferson Building is located on First Street SE, between Independence Avenue and East Capitol Street. For the tour, please check at the Ground Floor Information Desk for availability.

Group & Student Tours

Group tours are offered for 10-60 people from your organization or school (fourth grade and above). Reservations must be submitted two weeks in advance, but no more than three months prior to the tour date.

About group tours

Kids & Families

Pick up children's activity sheets at the Information Desks. See Saturday schedule above for information about family tours, or ask at an information desk. Bring your children to visit the Young Readers Center Monday through Saturday 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

More family activities

Accessibility

The Library buildings are fully accessible. A limited number of wheelchairs are provided at the Jefferson Building ground floor information desk.

More on accessibility

The Thomas Jefferson Building is located on First Street SE, between Independence Avenue and East Capitol Street. For the tour, please check at the Ground Floor Information Desk for availability.

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