Get 'in Touch' With Our Early History

wald-map-detail1.jpgDid you see the news about a fantastic, new exhibition that is opening here on Dec. 13?

?Exploring the Early Americas? will give people a glimpse of the future of not just our exhibits, but also the educational power of our collections and primary-source materials. This will be the Library?s most high-tech exhibition to date, with seven different interactive stations that will allow visitors to virtually handle important and inspiring artifacts, while also getting a wealth of user-friendly curatorial information. (The image at right is a detail from the 1507 map known commonly as ?America?s birth certificate,? the first document of any kind to use the word ?America,? which will be a featured attraction of the exhibit, along with the Jay I. Kislak Collection.)

Let?s face it: Our collections are pretty amazing, but the people who help add context and bring them to tangible life are rather priceless themselves. And that?s exactly what the new technologies will allow us to do as never before.

Then in 2008, we are looking to supplement and greatly enhance the trail that is being blazed by the ?Early Americas? exhibit. A new exhibition will focus on the vital documents that created the American republic. You?ll be able to touch, for instance, the phrase ?life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? as written in Thomas Jefferson?s own hand and then take a trip back in time to see where those history-altering words originally came from, and how the Founders fashioned our nation.

Another exhibit brings Jefferson?s personal library (the foundation of the modern Library of Congress) back into public view?once again, using cutting-edge technology to illuminate Jefferson?s own quest for knowledge and how it influenced this remarkable figure.

Interactive stations throughout the Library will offer information about the art and architecture of the Jefferson Building itself that is barely visible to the unaided eye, along with some fun and engaging activities for young and old alike, or as they might say at the circus, ?children of all ages.?

The capstone ultimately will be a new online experience that parallels the physical experience, opening up new horizons of thinking and learning either before or after seeing the Library in person.

But it all starts Dec. 13 with the ongoing ?Exploring the Early Americas.? We hope you can come and literally get in touch with the early beginnings of this country and hemisphere.

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