The Thomas Jefferson Building is the oldest of the four Library of Congress buildings and is located in Washington D.C. It was built during the 1890s by several architects and is a mix of American Renaissance style and murals.
Renamed in 1980, it honours former president Thomas Jefferson. It holds many important documents and books, as well as maps, photos, and music. It’s the second largest library collection in the world and gives many tours to the public each year. Here’s how to see the Library of Congress: Thomas Jefferson Building.
Library of Congress
The Library of Congress has housed many famous works over the years, most notably during World War Two. It’s held the Declaration of Independence, the United States Constitution, and an original Gutenberg Bible. It currently holds over 61 million manuscripts, 32 million books and 15 million photos. Free one-hour tours are offered Monday to Saturday in multiple languages.
One of the oldest books in the world, the Gutenberg Bible was printed in 1455 by the first printing press. Fifty copies of the bible survive today but only twenty-one of those are complete. It’s printed on vellum and has been held in the Library since 1930. It was first put on display in 2018 in a case built to the Bible’s exact measurements.
The Great Hall
The ceiling of the Great Hall is a visual masterpiece from the Gilded Age. It was painted and crafted by nearly fifty artists during the seven years it was being built. On the East Side of the Hall stands the Commemorative Arch which leads into the Main Reading Room. There are multiple images ranging from biblical scenes to mythology, as well as names and quotes of many famous authors.
The building hosts Thomas Jefferson’s personal library collection. When the Library of Congress was burned in 1814, he sold many of his books as replacements. They bought the library for almost $25000; over $400,000 today. The collection has expanded over the years and now has a variety of genres, including history, arts, and philosophy.
Map & Directions
Terrain: Multiple stairs.
Restaurants: No restaurants onsite, but multiple cafés are located near the building.
Shopping: Gift shop available.
- Thoman Jefferson Building: Mon-Sat, 8.30am-4.30pm
*as listed Sep, 2020
Have more time to spend in Washington D.C.? Want to explore the most popular tourist attractions? Here’s a quick tourist guide to the national mall!