Readers, Welcome to my blog (formerly Birds, Blooms, Books, etc). I'm entering a new decade taking on the challenge of moving from Maryland after living there 46 years and learning about my new home here in New England in the Live Free or Die state - New Hampshire. Join me as a write this new chapter of my life.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Library of Congress Inside

Friday, the 28th, I visited the Library of Congress in Washington, DC.  As promised from my last post where I showed the outside of the building, here is the inside splendor.

Quoting from the pamphlet " The Great Hall is the grand centerpiece of the Italian Renaissance-style building, which is theatrical and heavily ornamented in a Beaux Arts tradition."

Looking up at the ceiling from the first floor.
"The ceiling, seventy-five feet above the marble floor, is decorated with stained-glass skylights."

Here's the skylight.

The Main Reading Room is reserved for researchers but there's a viewing overlook.

"The Main Reading Room's domed ceiling soars 160 feet above the floor."

My photo is taken through glass so you see the reflection.

A friend here at Vantage House worked here 50 years ago and had her desk in one of those alcoves overlooking the main floor.

This is a mosaic of Minerva as she stands ready to defend a civilized society.

It's at the top of the stairs to the viewing overlook of the Main Reading Room.

A view of the Capitol through one of the windows.

"The Library of Congress was established in 1800 ... and the initial collection of 740 books and 3 maps was housed in the new Capitol Building until August 1814, when invading British troops burned the building, destroying the library."

 "President Thomas Jefferson, then retired and living at Monticello, offered his personal library as a replacement.  In January 1815, Congress appropriated $23,950 to purchase Jefferson's collection of 6,487 books..."  The collection was housed in the new Capitol.

Another fire destroyed some of Jefferson's books.  In 1897 a new separate building was opened as the Congressional Library.  The sign above shows which books on display were original to Jefferson's library and which are replacements of ones burned.

Sorry for the poor photo but even with the low light setting it was difficult to capture the space.  Here are some books with green ribbons, original books of Jefferson.

Here is the room where they are housed now.

There are all manner of exhibits in the Library of Congress (Exploring the Early Americas Exhibition, Waldseemuller Map Exhibition, Mapping a New Nation Exhibition, Bob Hope Gallery, Gershwin Room) but the one I was anxious to view was the Gutenberg Bible.

"Produced in Mainz, Germany in the mid 1450s, the Gutenberg Bible is the first book printed using movable metal type in Western Europe."  It's one of three still in existence printed on parchment.

All through the building are paintings and interesting features.

It was a great place to explore and its one to return to again.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Library of Congress Outside

Friday was another Vantage House trip, this time to the Library of Congress - the world's largest library with a collection of more that 164,000,000 items on 838 miles of bookshelves!

We had a staff change here at Vantage House so the original plan to have a docent led tour didn't happen because we were without a trip organizer at the crucial time when that tour was to be finalize. The new person in the job found out that it was too late to book the tour so we were to tour around on our own.  That part worked out fine but before we could even exit our bus we ran into troubles.  Apparently in order for the bus to discharge us in front of the library on 1st street, which is directly across from the U.S. Capitol, the bus had to have permission.  Now that would have been given had we booked the docent tour, but without it there was no way the bus driver could get us in front no matter how many ways she approached.  The Capitol policeman finally made himself clear we had to discharge on 2nd Street and walk around to the front.

In our walk around we passed by two of these gardens.  I wonder who gets the produce.

Here's the side of the main building called the Jefferson Building.

Looking up I noticed these three faces.

Turning the corner we could see the capitol.

Sorry I didn't get a photo of the very front of the building.  I planned to take that one on my way out but the torrential rain put an end to that idea.  We all got rather wet getting back to the bus which picked us up where she let us off.

To see the inside of the Library of Congress check back another day.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Cemetery Scouting

Friday, July 14th Dan and I took a break from the regular day routines to be tourists in Alexandria, Va.

Here is one of the spots we stopped by to see - a cemetery.  Dan's great grandfather is buried here.

Joining Fences.

Do you know why they put a fence around a cemetery?
People are just dying to get in.

We found the headstone of Dan's great grandfather amongst the poison ivy and other weeds.

I took this photo upside down and then righted it to show here.  

Dan has no recollection of his great grandmother even though she died 6 years after he was born.  His mother confirmed that they saw her a lot.

Geneva was a great aunt, daughter of the great grandfather.

This person is no relation other than the father of the great aunt's husband.

Looking back at the graves with the one we came to find almost engulfed by the weeds.

I need to post some of these photos on my website now.

It's not know why this cemetery was chosen maybe something as simple as proximity to home.  From the first photo you can see its not filled to the brim with graves.  But then again maybe it is but without markers.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Torpedo Factory

Friday, July 14th Dan and I took a break from the regular day routines to be tourists in Alexandria, Va.

Here is one of the spots we stopped by to see.

Torpedo Factory.

Here's how it looked when torpedoes were assembled here.

It's right on the Potomac River.

It closed for a time then with the conflict in Europe and Japan on the move, it reopened in 1940.

In 1974 it became a place for artists of all mediums to rent studios.

We ate lunch here on the first floor of the building.

Inside was an exhibit on torpedoes.

Upstairs on the top floor is this museum.

Ever time there is new construction in Alexandria the archaeologists come first to find the evidence from the past.

You can try to put together plate fragments.

 The rest of the space on each of the three floors is divided into studios.

Looking down from the second floor to the first.

We didn't make any purchases but there were lots of paintings, sculpture and jewelry for sale throughout.