Library of Congress Traveling Exhibit coming

Press Release: A special Library of Congress traveling exhibition—mounted in a customized 18-wheel truck—will visit Pensacola for two days during the July 4th weekend.

“Gateway to Knowledge” will be in Pensacola on Sunday, July 3, and Monday, July 4, and will be parked at Seville Square, between Adams and South Alcaniz streets. The exhibit is free and open to the public from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. both days.

The exhibition brings 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 during the year.

The exhibition features facsimiles of such treasures 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.”

The “Gateway to Knowledge” and its national tour are made possible by the generous 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 will include programming especially for teachers and students and provide relevant and engaging learning experiences for lifelong learners. The truck, which will be staffed and driven by two docents well-versed in the Library and its collections, will be parked at various schools, libraries, community centers and other public venues.

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,, the Center for the Book/Literacy Programs site,, 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.