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Library of Congress Tour

Quick Details

Hour Glass 2 hours

Calendar Saturdays at 9:30 am.

Map Marker  Group will meet at the corner of First Street SE and Independence Avenue SE

Adults (Ages 18+)
Youths (Ages 12-17)
Children (Ages 5-11)

Tour the Iconic Library of Congress

Take a deep dive into American history’s depths on our tour of the Library of Congress, which is a historical and political icon of the nation. While there are endless things to do in Washington, D.C., this tour of the Library of Congress will give you a chance to take in some of our nation’s most significant political and cultural treasures. The small, group tour with convene just outside the Library of Congress, on the corner of First Street SE and Independence Avenue SE. From there, we will admire the exterior and grounds of the Library of Congress, including the iconic Italian-style fountain, and get a sense of the sprawling, expansive architecture that houses a portion of the Library of Congress collection.

Our tour will take us through security and into the Thomas Jefferson building. In the Great Hall, we will explore Thomas Jefferson’s pivotal role in the development of the Library of Congress and see murals that have been viewed by generations of dignitaries, researchers, and Washington D.C. visitors alike. Your tour guide will delve into the Library’s murals, including Picture Writing, The Printing Press, Oral Tradition, and the mural series Government.

We will also set the stage for the wild journey through American history and revolution that lives and breathes in the Library of Congress. The attraction has been one of the things to do in Washington D.C. since the turn of the 19th century, though it has a tumultuous history, riddled with fire, warfare, and political eruptions. While the Library of Congress is the oldest federal cultural institution in the United States, it also houses millions of books, recordings, photographs, maps, and manuscripts that are part of a working research facility. And, though it still stands strong today, the Library of Congress has gone through many iterations and significant destruction in its long life.

After the original building burned down in the early 1800s, President Thomas Jefferson sold his personal collection of scholarly books to the United States government, which was then placed in the Library of Congress. Thomas Jefferson’s collection lived in the Library of Congress until further fires destroyed the Library of Congress again. This time the fires ravaged 2/3 of Thomas Jefferson’s collection and destroyed the preexisting building, which led to the construction of the Thomas Jefferson building, which we will explore together. The tour will travel through the Great Hall and go upstairs, to look at both the Thomas Jefferson Book Collection exhibit and into the overlook area to view the Reading Room. As we view what remains of Thomas Jefferson’s collection, we will learn more about how these beautiful texts have survived the test of time and how we continue to search for missing books.

The Library of Congress serves as the primary research arm of the United States Congress. It welcomes countless politicians, tourists, and researchers alike each day. Our masterful tour guides and storytellers will take you beyond the history books, tour maps, and pamphlets to humanize the figures who have made the Library of Congress what it is today. There is history, revolution, and the spirit of human intellect and learning built into its walls.

After exploring Thomas Jefferson’s collection, we will descend to the lower level of the Library of Congress to take on the Gershwin Room, which explores the lives and legacies of George and Ira Gershwin and their musical career. We will stroll into the Bob Hope Gallery, where we will journey through the life The British-American pop icon, Bob Hope with a chance to examine of Bob Hope’s Joke Book. We will conclude our adventure with the Graphic Arts Gallery and learn about the creative works that shaped American culture and beliefs.

Through time and space, our odyssey will end here, having gone on a journey from early American political and civil unrest to the Hollywood stars of the 2000s. The Library of Congress tour follows a unique and multifaceted path through politics, art, culture, and events that have all been cornerstones of the American experience. The end of our adventure together is just the beginning of yours. There are many nearby things to do in Washington, D.C. Our expert tour guides can give you insider tips, ideas, and recommendations as to where to take your trip next.

Meet Your Tour Guide | Stephen Mead

Stephen has led a life and career rooted in understanding, sharing, and teaching others about the arts. He spent many years in London as a lead tour guide at the Victoria and Albert Museum. He was also a speaker for the National Arts Collection Fund and an educator at a myriad of educational institutions throughout Britain. Since moving to the Washington D.C. area six years ago, Stephen has spent countless hours leading locals and visitors alike through our many monuments and the capital’s museums. Above all else, Stephen is a master storyteller who weaves together the threads of history and art to engage and delight his audiences. He loves showing visitors and locals alike all of the things to do in Washington D.C., one of his favorite cities in the world.

Cancellation Policy

Customers will receive a full refund or credit with 24 hours notice of cancellation. Customers will also receive a full refund or credit in case of operator cancellation due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances. Contact us by phone to cancel or inquire about a cancellation. No-shows will be charged the full price.