This is the 22nd 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:
Every once in a while we hear from a guest that has traveled a good distance to see the exhibit. In Waco, Texas, a family came all the way from Oklahoma. And, most recently, Josh had a chance to meet a pair of librarians from Louisville, Ky. – not too big of a distance, but we were set up three hours away in Somerset. They were a bit disappointed that we would not be coming to their library, but after hearing more about the tour’s mission, they too were inspired to help their patrons. The Gateway to Knowledge exhibit is out here to help every American understand that with the click of the mouse, everyone can have access to the world’s largest library to supplement their local resources.
We’ve mentioned before how much fun it is to work with student groups inside the exhibit. We get to show them some amazing treasures from our nation’s history. Occasionally we meet students that inspire us; you can glimpse a spark that may turn into their lifelong passion. I’ll admit that I don’t have to manage these super curious kids in the classroom daily, but we sure think they’re fun. In Bowling Green, Ky., a fifth grader named Sam put me through my paces. His interest in history could hardly be contained. I could tell that this was a special kid.
I spent some time talking with him about some of the exhibit’s displays and other items at the Library of Congress. He was particularly fascinated with the Waldsemüller map and all its distortions, creative interpretations and detailed artwork. His parting question was to see if I could advise him on a good museum to stop at on his upcoming family trip to New York. Like I said, he was a special kid.