Historic U.S. trove goes digital--Library of Congress

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Just in time for cherry blossom season in Washington, D.C., the Library of Congress on Saturday plans to open a new exhibit, called the Library of Congress Experience, at its historic Thomas Jefferson Building--and online at a new Web site, MyLOC.gov.

At about two dozen touch-screen kiosks sprinkled throughout otherwise analog exhibits, visitors will be able to zoom in on pages from historic bibles, "flip" through books from Thomas Jefferson's vast library, learn about the ornate artwork that adorns the Library's Great Hall, and view how founding documents like the Declaration of Independence and Constitution morphed from draft to draft. (The dead-tree counterparts are on view, too, in dimly lit, protective cases.)

To be sure, interactive museum exhibits are nothing new, and the LOC has already crossed over into the digital world with efforts like uploading vintage photographs to Flickr. But Librarian of Congress James Billington told reporters this week that this exhibit is "unlike anything the Library of Congress has undertaken in the past," allowing visitors to see "stunning detail up close that we've only had a general idea of before."

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