This is the 16th in a series of guest posts by Abigail Van Gelder, who with her husband, Josh, is journeying across the country on the Library’s “Gateway to Knowledge” traveling exhibition:
It’s hard to believe that we have reached stop #30 with the Gateway to Knowledge Tour. We have rolled into 13 states now, putting on about 33,000 miles since departing from the MRA shop – our truck’s home base in Michigan. I can’t say that there has been a typical day yet – from the blazing temperatures we saw in Washington at the National Book Festival to a blizzard in Janesville, Wisc. – there is never a dull moment. Neither the heat nor the snow has kept folks from coming to see us. Even a snow day in Michigan couldn’t keep parents from stopping by with their bundled-up kids to take advantage of the exhibit.
One real treat in 2011 has been the increasing number of student groups that come to the exhibit and have an opportunity for a very in-depth introduction to America’s Library. Josh and I have a great deal of fun answering questions; one of the most popular is about the “Book of Secrets.” It’s heartwarming to have students tell you their favorite part was reading about Thomas Jefferson’s rough draft of the Declaration of Independence and how they think the Library is cool. I’ve met more future curators for the Library than can be counted. There is a comment book inside the exhibit, and our young guests often write about enjoying learning about American and world history.
I’m writing this as we roll along another strikingly beautiful highway, this one through the Ozark Mountains. Even though we have been smothered in snow most of this winter, visiting the rural tour stops gives us a chance to leave the interstates and see amazing views. I already loved the view from my seat, but every day has something new to gawk at.
I encourage everyone to keep visiting the Gateway page, check for newly released stops and if you see us drive by, give a wave!