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Let’s Get This Show on the Road

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One of the things I love about working here is the reaction people often have to the collections: the broad smiles, the dropped jaws, the “I-can’t-believe-you-have-thats.”  It’s times like those when I wish more Americans could have those same magical moments.

Abby and Emily Rapoport apparently thought the same thing.  The two approached the Library of Congress with the idea of a traveling exhibition that could bring a good sampling of our treasures into the countryside.  They were especially interested in bringing the Library to rural areas, as they believed people need to be more aware of the kinds of resources at this publicly funded institution.  After all, while it’s Congress’s library, it’s yours too.

And thus, “Gateway to Knowledge: The Abby and Emily Rapoport Traveling Exhibition” was born.  An 18-wheeler that uses hydraulics to expand to twice its road width, the exhibit on wheels is about as close as you can get to the Library’s “best-of” without actually setting foot in the Thomas Jefferson Building.  (Yes, the “Convoy” theme song is playing in my head as I write this.)

High-quality reproductions of Library treasures in museum-style exhibits are featured, along with the story of the Library’s history, a multimedia welcome, a video introduction to the Library, and web-connected computers that showcase our vast digital resources.

Gateway to Knowledge launches Sept. 25 at the National Book Festival and then heads west to Winchester, Va., and other areas in the South and Midwest, en route to an expected 60 destinations by May 2011.

Keep watching this space for more information about the tour and where it will be headed next, and hopefully some guest posts by the docents who will be rolling down the road.  Maybe the next jaw that drops will be your own.

Comments (21)

  1. YES!!!! Come to Oklahoma City!!

  2. Please, please, please come to Mound City, MO? We are right on I-29 and would surely love the excitement that this traveling exhibit would bring to a very small rural town. I bet you’d even make the paper ; )

  3. Please post the route of the Gateway to Knowledge in advance so people can set time aside for such an important exibition.

  4. It would be nice if, among today’s politicians, we had someone with the intellect and breadth of vision of Thomas Jefferson.

  5. Come to Tampa, Florida…..

    Your visit would make us all so happy!

  6. This is Awesome, Great, looking forward to your visit!!!

  7. I hope you get on a boat and come to Honolulu

  8. When and where WILL the visit schedule be published?

  9. Wherever you are on or around March 2, NEA’s Read Across America Day, let’s celebrate the joy and importance of reading! And let us know if you want us to contact educators and librarians and community members along your route, we’d be happy to. What a wonderful idea and gift to the public.

  10. Come to L.A. ….Pleeaaseee there are people who love history as well as love their tans..

  11. Please come to visit Newport, PA. Our students would love to see things that they can never get to otherwise. What a wonderful experience for our children!!

  12. Please post your schedule so that we might plan to visit; dates and locations would be helpful. It is not helpful to say that you are traveling around the U.S. with an exhibit without information as to where and when we might share in the “road show.”

  13. Please come to Connecticut!! I am always in awe of the items I see on your web site. Would love to see you “in person”.

  14. I am sure the staff will be posting a schedule as soon as possible, great to see so many people interested in the tour.

  15. It’s terrific to see this level of enthusiasm!

    I hope everyone will be patient regarding the fuller schedule. We will likely have the first eight sites finalized and announced soon, and we’ll probably make additional announcements in groups of perhaps 20 or so towns. We’ll also have a special webpage where people will be able to “Follow the Torch” and track the truck.

    In some cases, towns in the earliest part of the tour have been selected, but the actual venue hasn’t yet been nailed down 100 percent. A double-wide tractor-trailer takes up a big footprint, and we also want to make sure it’s in a location that makes the most sense in terms of our educational, historical and cultural missions.

    We’ll get back to everyone soon!

  16. Please — more details and the webpage soon!

    Thank you for a great idea!!!!

  17. Please come to Sonoma County, Santa Rosa, CA. Not only do we have many citizens who would love to see the exhiit, we are in the wonderful wine country. Not all of us are able to travel to Washington DC. Would love to see you here on the West Coast.

  18. What a great idea.

    I cannot wait!!! Where are the stops in Indiana! We, absolutely, love our Library of Congress.

    Thank you

  19. How about visiting where some of the earliest visitors to the U. S….the Vikings left Runes in …..Heaven….
    Heavener, Oklahoma.
    Gateway to the mountains of Southeast Oklahoma,
    Not far from Arkansas, Texas and Louisiana.
    Contact Roy Faulkenberry, editor, Heavener Ledger

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