Touring the National Agricultural Library
I arranged for 6 local garden clubs (about 50 individuals came) to tour the National Agricultural Library (NAL) last Saturday morning. A great way to spend a dull winter Saturday. Hey, it will never be on the DC tourist Top 10 list or anything, but it is definitely worth a few hours of your time to come and explore.
The NAL staff did a wonderful job showing us around. We started at the top floor for views to as far away as the Washington Monument and National Cathedral. Then a talk on one of the 19th C artists the USDA employed for their pomology collection. Afterwards, we split into five groups and circulated among stations around the building.
My group learned that this high tower out in the field is often used for Secret Service training exercises. We also were shown some rare items in the Special Collections by Susan Fugate. My favorite is a journal of the weekly "tramps" to local DC-area natural attractions in the early 20th C by Baltimore botanist, Charles C. Plitt, and his fellow teacher friends. They carefully recorded everything they observed on these treks. I think we should bring those "tramps" back.
We often take for granted what is right in our own backyards. It is paid for by YOUR tax dollars so definitely get by and take advantage. It is open M-F 8:30-4:00 (except Federal holidays). All you need do is show your ID. If you want to access the special collections, you'll need to make an appointment, but that is pretty easy to do as well.
Here is what some tour attendees had to say:
The tour was wonderful, especially seeing the originals and other rare items up on the 5th floor. - Dan
It was indeed a fabulous experience! Thanks, Kathy, for introducing us to this wonderful resource. - Taffy
Kathy, thank you so much for putting together the great trip to the National Agricultural Library today (Saturday). It is a treasure right here on our own back yard. The library staff and volunteers worked hard to get all the exhibits, handouts and logistics in place for us. I think anyone who missed this trip and is interested, might want to visit during the week during business hours. And Udupi Restaurant, where some of us had lunch [afterwards] is one of the best vegetarian restaurants in our area. - Carole
Oh, I know that you have heard it many times about the NAL tour..................WONDERFUL. A great way to spend a winter's day could have stayed for hours with the interesting NAL folks and the amazing material. Thanks a bunch. - Mike
That was truly a delight, and I knew nothing about it before. Wow, such a resource. Thank you. - Jeff