August 1, 2017 Library of Congress Offers a New "Feel" to Public Tours

Press Contact: Bryonna Head (202) 707-3073
Public Contact: Giulia Adelfio (202) 707-2153
Website: Touch History Reservation External
Request ADA accommodations five business days in advance at (202) 707-6362 or [email protected]

The Library of Congress today launched a new way for visitors with visual impairments to experience the Thomas Jefferson Building. “Touch History” is an accessible tour that brings building details to life for visitors through their sense of touch.

The verbal description tour—“Touch History”—will run the first and third Tuesday mornings of each month, with the exception of September, at 8:45 a.m., beginning August 1 on the ground floor of the Library’s Thomas Jefferson Building. The tours will be led by trained docents who will use vivid language to describe the building to participants.

Pre-registration through this ticketing site is recommended but not required. Participants are advised to check in at the information desk located on the ground floor of the Thomas Jefferson Building.

The Library’s Jefferson Building currently hosts between 5,000 and 9,000 visitors a day. In order to make the Library more accessible, “Touch History” was created to allow every guest the opportunity to learn more about the history of the Jefferson Building through a touch-oriented tour.

Combined with the docent’s descriptions and stories of the institution as a whole, the hands-on approach is designed to leave visitors with an enriched picture of the aesthetics of the Thomas Jefferson Building. Participants will be able to feel various shapes, wall carvings and sculptural elements. The Architect of the Capitol has also provided materials, such as pieces of marble and granite, that provide an intimate encounter with the variety of textures and the weights of materials used in the building’s construction.

The currently scheduled “Touch History” tours are as follows:

  • August 1st and 15th
  • September 19th
  • October 3rd and 17th
  • November 7th and 21st
  • December 5th and 19th

“Touch History” is being presented under the direction of Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden who is taking action to make the Library more accessible to the general public. Some of her most recent efforts include the opening of the Ceremonial Office and extending the hours of the Young Readers Center to Saturday.

For more information regarding tours at the Library, visitors can contact the Visitor Services Office at

The Library of Congress is the world’s largest library, offering access to the creative record of the United States—and extensive materials from around the world—both on-site and online. It is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office. Explore collections, reference services and other programs and plan a visit at; access the official site for U.S. federal legislative information at; and register creative works of authorship at



PR 17-105
ISSN 0731-3527