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Temple of Invention: History of a National Landmark Paperback – August 9, 2006

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Scala Arts Publishers Inc. (August 9, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1857593855
  • ISBN-13: 978-1857593853
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 0.4 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #870,596 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Andrew W. Johns VINE VOICE on March 3, 2008
Format: Paperback
I must confess that one of the reasons I wanted to read this book is because I am an employee of the modern Patent Office (now located in Alexandria, VA). But I had also heard rave reviews of the "old" Patent Office Building across the river, especially since the completion of the recent renovations, so I was even more curious about the history of this building.

This book details both the early history of the U.S. Patent Office and the building that would house it for almost a century. It is the story of a building conceived out of grand ideals, and which formed the center of a long and bitter personal feud. In addition to housing the Patent Office, it has also housed a number of other government agencies, and was home to the first of Washington's many museums.

Its a shame that this book is so brief, as it would be interesting to explore many aspects of the life of this building in more depth. In particular, its role as a barracks and hospital during the Civil War are covered in just three pages, which hardly seems to do justice to this period. The book does a good job of providing an overview of the building's history, but more detail would have been appreciated.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
On your next trip to Washington, be SURE to visit the reopened National Portrait Gallery and National Museum of American Art. The two Smithsonian museums share space in this wonderfully restored mid-19th century building originally constructed to house the U.S. Patent Office. This is a popular history of the building's changing use, its near-destruction in the 1950s, and the recent seven-year rebuild (soon to be crowned by an internal courtyard cover designed by Sir Norman Foster). The book makes clear how the building itself is as interesting as the collections within it. (But it is off the usual tourist path on the Mall, being a few blocks north, though right on the Metro system and thus easy to reach.)
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