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Planning Your Vacation?

If you will be traveling to the nation's capital this summer, why not visit the Library of Congress, the largest library in the world and a place where there is something interesting to see for people of all ages?

Interested in architecture? Some people have called the Library's Jefferson Building one of the most beautiful public spaces in Washington. This 1897 masterpiece of Italian Renaissance style is open for guided tours Monday through Saturday.

Great Hall of the Thomas Jefferson Building Advertising flyer for the Cole Porter musical "Red, Hot and Blue!"

For a look at some of the most important and fascinating items in the Library, visit the exhibition "American Treasures." Every three months, selected items in this exhibition, from the more than 200 on view, are removed and replaced with other Library treasures. Currently (running through Nov. 13), the exhibition features materials from the Veterans History Project of the American Folklife Center.

"From the Home Front and the Front Lines" will expose visitors to the personal experiences of veterans who fought in World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and the Persian Gulf War that are taken from firsthand accounts documented in correspondence, photographs, diaries, bound volumes and albums. Maps, flags and military papers are included in the exhibit as well, which will also include two audiovisual stations. One includes filmed recollections of veterans, and the other contains a compilation of feature film clips reflecting the film industry's interpretation of war and war experiences.

Other exhibitions (all in the Jefferson Building) include:

  • "With an Even Hand: Brown v. Board at Fifty," explores the 1950 decision to end segregation in schools (through Nov. 13, 2004).
  • "Humor's Edge: Cartoons by Ann Telnaes." The work of Ann Telnaes (see "Telnaes" article in this issue of the Wise Guide), a leading editorial cartoonist and the second woman to win the Pulitzer Prize in her field, is featured in the exhibition "Humor's Edge: Cartoons by Ann Telnaes" (through Sept. 4, 2004).
  • "Bob Hope and American Variety." This permanent exhibition chronicles the remarkable career of this American comic.
  • "Here to Stay: The Legacy of George and Ira Gershwin." This is also a permanent exhibition; the items on view are from the Library's incomparable Gershwin Collection.
  • Other current exhibitions can be previewed here.
In addition to exhibitions, the Library has an active series of free concerts, lectures, symposia and other events. The best place to look when planning your visit is the Calendar of Events. If you are a book lover who would like to meet some of your favorite authors, then the National Book Festival, to be held Oct. 9 on the National Mall, is for you. Check the site often for the latest news of this annual event. The "Visiting the Library" page has links providing directions to the Library, a list of tours, lodging options, restaurants and other information.

A. Great Hall of the Thomas Jefferson Building. From "Jefferson's Legacy: A Brief History of the Library of Congress."

B. Advertising flyer for the Cole Porter musical "Red, Hot and Blue!" The show is still remembered as the Broadway musical in which the two leads, Ethel Merman and Jimmy Durante, could not agree on who was to receive top billing. Thus, the criss-crossed names above the title. Third-billed Bob Hope introduced the standard "It's De-Lovely" with Ethel Merman. Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division. Reproduction information: Contact