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Incredible Interiors: Library of Congress

This summer I went to Washington D.C. for a short vacation with family. I had a great time there. Once there I realized that D.C. is great destination for architecture and public art. Now it might seem obvious, but for me when I thought about D.C. I think about government and politics, but now seeing it once again, this time as an adult, I see that the city has stunning architecture, sculpture, and interiors. In this article, I’ll be focusing on the interiors of the Library of Congress.

An ornate ceiling with skylights in the Library of Congress
Ornate ceiling of the Library of Congress. Photo by Kimberly Ferguson.

This was in the Library of Congress. This ceiling had so many beautiful elements, like seasons, names of authors, allegories, and they all were related to literature and education.

Statue and ornate ceiling in Library to Congress Reading room
Statue and domed ceiling of the Library of Congress Main Reading Room. Photo by Kimberly Ferguson.

How amazing is this dome? I felt like I was in Italy. This is the dome of the Main Reading Room in the Library of Congress. There are sixteen bronze statues in this room all representing different areas of study. This statue I’m behind is of Moses representing religion. The statues represent two notable people in the fields of art, commerce, history, law, philosophy, poetry, religion, and science.

Painted ceiling in Library of Congress
Detail of a section of the Mezzanine ceiling. Photo by Kimberly Ferguson.

I was amazed by the amount of detail that went into the interiors of this building. The Library of Congress is not merely a place to store books, but is a also something to marvel at. They could have made the walls all white and still been a functional building but instead they choose to add more by not just housing books, but letting its walls tell a story as well.

A mosaic of minerva in the Library of Congress
A beautiful mosaic of Minerva. Photo by Kimberly Ferguson

This mosaic was made by Elihu Vedder and it is of the Minerva, the goddess of learning and wisdom in Roman mythology. There is so much symbolism in this piece. In my research, I found that Minerva shield is on the ground symbolizes her being the guardian of civilization. Also, the scroll she is holding lists different educational fields. Basically everything in this room is about learning and the educational accomplishments of American and European scholars.

Elevator doors with gold column detail
Elevator doors detail. Photo by Kimberly Ferguson

I love when buildings add in beautiful details where you don’t expect it. This was from inside one of the elevators. I’ve never seen any elevator with this kind of decorative detail. Pretty cool.

Wooden columns in an elevator with window that shows the outside
View to the outside from the elevator. Photo by Kimberly Ferguson.

This was also from in the elevator. Have you ever seen an elevator that has a window to the outside? I hadn’t up until this point. Anyway, this visit to the Library of Congress was pretty phenomenal for its architecture and design. What started off as a much needed escape from the sweltering D.C. heat , turned out to be way better than I imagined, really beautiful. Also if you are there, make sure to check out the other galleries, I saw interesting exhibit about photography there.

What are some beautiful interiors you have seen? Comment below.


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