Congressman Tom Petri reports that the Library of Congress is sending a traveling exhibition to Fond du Lac. "For those who can't get to Washington, a bit of Washington is coming to you, so come have a look," he said.
Mounted in a customized 18-wheel truck, the exhibit will be parked at Fond du Lac High School, 801 Campus Drive, on Tuesday, Nov. 30 and Wednesday, Dec. 1. It will be free and open to the public from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on both days.
The "Gateway to Knowledge" exhibition will bring high-quality facsimiles of many of the Library's top treasures and information about the millions of resources in the Library's unparalleled collections to small towns and rural communities across America - areas that may not be aware of their access to the wealth of information in this publicly funded institution. Ultimately, the "Gateway to Knowledge" is expected to visit up to 60 sites in states across the Midwest and South over the next year.
The exhibit will include programming especially for teachers and students, and provide relevant and engaging learning experiences for lifelong learners. The truck will be staffed and driven by two docents well-versed in the Library and its collections.
The trailer expands to three times its road width, and visitors will enter from a central staircase to find several areas of museum-style exhibits, including a welcoming multimedia display and computer terminals showing Library of Congress websites. The websites will include the main site, www.loc.gov, the Center for the Book/Literacy Programs site, www.read.gov, and sites pertaining to U.S. collections, exhibitions and a special site for use by teachers.
The exhibition will outline the history of the Library, including Thomas Jefferson's role in re-establishing the Library when he provided his personal book collection to the nation after the burning of the U.S. Capitol in 1814. Jefferson's organization of his books by categories of "Memory, Reason and Imagination" will inform the organization of the exhibition.
The exhibition will feature facsimiles of such treasures as the 1507 Waldseemuller Map (the first document to use the word "America"); the 1455 Gutenberg Bible; the rough draft of the Declaration of Independence, in Thomas Jefferson's hand with edits by Benjamin Franklin and John Adams; the 1962 drawings for the comic book that introduced Spiderman to the world; and the handwritten manuscript of jazz pioneer Jelly Roll Morton's "Frog-i-More Rag."
Founded in 1800, the Library of Congress is the nation's oldest federal cultural institution. The Library seeks to spark imagination and creativity and to further human understanding and wisdom by providing access to knowledge through its magnificent collections, programs and exhibitions.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, November 30, in the parking lot of Fond du Lac High School with the following special guests:
Dr. James Sebert, Fond du Lac School District Superintendent
Mr. Jon Wiltzius, Fond du Lac High School Principal
Ms. Lisa Steinacher, Fond du Lac High School Social Studies Teacher
Mr. Allen Buechel, Fond du Lac County Executive
Mr. Tom Herre, Fond du Lac City Manager
Mr. Ken Hall, Fond du Lac Public Library Director
Mr. Dave Anderson, District Director for Congressman Tom Petri
Representatives of the Library of Congress "Gateway to Knowledge" Traveling Exhibit