Library of Congress reopens just in time for “Summer Movies on the Lawn”

Library of Congress: Thomas Jefferson Building

What is considered in everything but the name as the country’s library, also the oldest federal cultural institution in the country and the largest such institution in the world, has reopened its spectacular Thomas Jefferson Main Building for the first time since the start of pandemic – albeit only for those who pick up free, limited-time, ticketed passes.

The passes, offering admission Thursday through Saturday between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. for those adhering to social distancing and face mask policies, allow guests to explore the Jefferson Building and peruse several of its exhibits , including “Rosa Parks: In Her Own Words,” “Won’t Be Denied: Women Fight for the Vote,” “Thomas Jefferson Library,” “Exploring the Early Americas,” and “Mapping a New Nation: The Map of the United States of Abel Buell, 1784 ”.

In addition, every Thursday evening at sunset until the first week of August, the library has outdoor screenings. The fourth “LOC Summer Movies on the Lawn” outdoor film festival features selections from the Library’s National Film Registry.

This year’s programming includes Shrek, the animated story of a green-skinned, lonely-loving ogre from 2001, July 15; Toy story, Pixar’s popular 1995 animated favorite, July 22; The sound of music, the 1965 classic musical screened with “Audience Singalong” on July 29; jurassic park, the 1993 Dinosaur Fantastic Blockbuster, August 5; and The princess to marry, the popular contemporary take on classic fairy tales from 1987, on August 12.

Films are shown Thursdays at sunset (approximately 8:30 p.m.), with authorized guests from 6:30 p.m., on the North Lawn of the Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First St. SE. No tickets required but capacity will be limited, with participants encouraged to wear masks and assigned locations in groups, spaced at least six feet apart.

The Library has also reopened some of its reading rooms to researchers through a separate appointment system. Still to reopen, later this summer is the Librarian’s Ceremonial Desk in the Great Hall, the “Here to Stay: The Legacy of George and Ira Gershwin” exhibit and the Herblock Gallery. On-site library sponsored events will resume in the fall. Visit

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