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Asheville, North Carolina News

Library of Congress Traveling Exhibit Coming to A-B Tech

ASHEVILLE, NC – A-B Tech will host the Library of Congress Traveling Exhibit from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. May 6 and 7 at theA-B Tech’s Asheville campus. Located adjacent to the K. Ray Bailey Student Services Building, the exhibit is free and open to the public.

The “Gateway to Knowledge” exhibition will bring high-quality facsimiles of many of the Library’s top documents and information about the millions of resources in the Library’s unparalleled collections to Asheville. The “Gateway to Knowledge” is expected to visit up to 60 sites in states across the Midwest and South over the next year.

“We are excited to host this unique opportunity for the community to see some of the treasures of the Library of Congress,” said Carol Fleming, Director of Library Services at A-B Tech. “Where else can you find a Gutenberg Bible, the Declaration of Independence and the first Spiderman comic drawings side-by-side? We hope that many schools and community members will visit and thank the Library of Congress for providing the exhibit.”

The exhibit and its national tour are made possible by the support of the Rapoport family.  Bernie and Audre Rapoport are founding members of the James Madison Council, the Library’s private-sector advisory group.

“As both a storehouse of world knowledge and primary resource for the U.S. Congress, the Library is energized by the prospects of the exhibition playing an important role in sharing the national collection with the people to whom it belongs,” said Librarian of Congress James H. Billington.

The exhibit includes programming especially for teachers and students and provides relevant and engaging learning experiences for lifelong learners. The truck is 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 displaying 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 outlines 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 features facsimiles of such documents as the 1507 Waldseemüller 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 Spider-Man to the world; the handwritten manuscript to jazz pioneer Jelly Roll Morton’s “Frog-i-More Rag”; and Walt Whitman’s poem “Leaves of Grass.”

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.

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