Two times a year, the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. opens its doors to the general public and photographers. A special event where one can enter into the Main Reading Room and admire the spectacular interior of one of the most incredible buildings.
President John Adams signed a bill in 1800 to begin a library for the use of Congress. A small library, but great things happen from small beginnings.
But then in August, 1814 the British came and burned and pillaged the Capitol building and its small holdings. Within a month, Thomas Jefferson offered his extensive library of nearly 6500 books that ranged from philosophy to science. A collection that took him nearly 50 years to build, this collection became the foundation for today’s Library of Congress.
The Thomas Jefferson collection began the belief that all literature and written works relevant to America should be included in the collection. One way the library began its extensive collection of American works is due to the Copyright law of 1870 where all copyright applicants were to submit two pieces of their work.
The need for a new library became clear in the late 1800’s and in 1886 construction began. Built in the style of the Italian Renaissance, the library was completed and opened on November 1, 1897. With 50 American artists and craftsman, the interior of the library is truly stunning. From the mosaic or tiled floors to the elaborate stone work and painted ceilings. This building has been heralded as “the largest, the costliest, and the safest” library in the world.
Walk with me into the Thomas Jefferson building and be mesmerized with the stunning beauty and incredible artwork wherever the eye can see. Entering into the ground floor, two white marbled flights of stairs are taken towards the main floor. A small alcove first greets visitors, just a hint of the artwork to come.
And the grand hall which is guaranteed to take your breath away at first glance. So much detail that one can only stand and stare for a really long time.
The detail in just the grand hall itself will keep one mesmerized for days. But yet, there is so much more to explore. For today, we will spend the time wandering around the balcony and staircases of the grand hall before entering in to the Main Reading Room.