Archives and Architecture


We all work with one infinite power.” ~ from the book  The Secret 

One of the most magnificent of all museum buildings in America is often over-looked by tourists visiting the Nation’s Capital of Washington, DC. Many walk right by one of the most interesting Federal Buildings, not knowing what they are missing. The real secret attraction is the architecture inside! Fulfilling the need to know what else is in it, lies just inside the walls of the building. The magnificent structure  houses the Library of Congress. Add this Federal Building to your “must see list” of sites to visit next time you are in the surrounds of Washington, DC. 

The structure  is so large  that  it can contain 147 million volumes of cataloged books, music, newspapers, pamphlets, films, technical reports/journals, textbooks, artwork and other published material. It is a library so enormous that it takes up three buildings, all connected by underground passageways. The museum houses publications on an amazing maze of 838 miles of shelving.  

Not only does the Library contain volumes of books, film and sheet music, it is the “bank”for copyright protection and copyright registration, and it is home to the United States Copyright Office

The Library of Congress also includes a motion picture and television reading room, the Mary Pickford Theatre which hosts free screenings of contemporary and classic movies and TV shows.

In recent years, a whole different class of publications have been added to the cataloging system at the Library of Congress. A small but growing collection of archived books is now available on the internet through a library initiative called American Memories. Now, some very frail volumes of books, audio visual materials, manuscripts and maps dating back as far as 1400 have been digitized. For more information on the Library of Congress, please visit

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A Gift in Perpetuity from Japan

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The government of the United States is a device for maintaining in perpetuity the rights of the people….”  ~ Calvin Coolidge 

It is April 4th, and as I sat inside yesterday, in the middle of yet another snowstorm, I wondered where springtime went. On Friday, it was a balmy 66 degrees in the mountain town of Steamboat Springs, Colorado.  The warmth felt delicious and I was finally able to shed some of my winter wraps for lighter-weight garb. The reprieve from winter, albeit much appreciated, lasted only one day. I am sure Old Man Winter returned again yesterday, to make sure he was fulfilling his duty of giving us plenty of snow. 

Right now, in other parts of the country, springtime has really arrived, no fooling around. There are no more lapses of lingering snowstorms and cold temperatures to contend with in many places. 

In Washington, DC the Cherry Blossom Festival is underway. Thanks to the kindness of the Japanese people, the United States Capitol is at its most beautiful, every spring. Millions of people, from all over the globe, visit our National Museums  and our governmental center, in April, and  witness the magnificent blooming of the “sakura.”

The trees, planted in 1912, grow more beautiful with each passing year. The blossoms provide a wealth of natural beauty to our country, and are a gift from Japan in perpetuity. We anticipate, with optimism, that  friendship with Japan, will be everlasting, too. 

Our prayers remain with the Japanese people during this difficult time. We harbor hope that our country’s financial assistance and our shipments of gifts in kind will provide a glimmer of brightness and light to the Japanese people in their time of need.

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It is All about Perception

” Blessed are those who see beautiful things in humble places, where other people see nothing” ~  Camille Passaro

All day I have been listening to weather news from the mid-Atlantic States. What would be an ordinary snowstorm in the mountains, brings total chaos to areas unaccustomed to snow. If you have ever lived in the Washington, DC area, you know what I mean. If the word snow is even whispered, the government shuts down and all the people leave their offices early in a panic before the white stuff even begins to fly. As soon as that nasty word is uttered, the snowplows line up on the roads to start the vigil. When the first snowflake is spotted, the plowtrucks nearly collide rushing to be the first to sweep the demons off the trail. It is not the snow that is the enemy, it is all the people who have been driven into a frenzy by that four lettered word!

Someday, we will all learn that mother nature is not something to be defeated, controlled or subdued. Mother nature does not listen! She does her own thing, a real woman of independence!

I say “Let it Snow! And a special Merry Christmas to plein air painters of the mid-Atlantic who rarely get to experience a white Christmas. Wrap up and go outdoors and paint today. You have been given a wonderful gift from nature. Some of the most beautiful and most romantic paintings have come from plein air painters who have braved the weather and painted outdoors in less than comfortable conditions.

“Richard Schmid Paints the Landscape- November” DVD was filmed on a day when the weather conditions went from sun to clouds to snow all within the few hour film shoot. West Wind Fine Art, LLC can attest to the weather that day!  Richard’s DVD will teach you, as an artist, how to cope with changing light and weather conditions as you paint out of doors.

Richard took his slide show to the Portrait Society of America a few years ago. Maybe he can return to the Capital again, and teach Washingtonians a thing or two about changes in climate!


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