Washington, DC Area Events

April 2015
Washington, DC, Area Events

You can watch some of our programs live on YouTube. Look for the US National Archives YouTube Channel logo in a program description and click it to watch live or catch up later.

Live captioning will be available online and in the William G. McGowan Theater. If you require an alternative or additional accommodation for an event (such as a downloadable transcript or a sign language interpreter), please send an email to public.program@nara.gov or call 202-357-5000 in advance.

“Spirited Republic” is presented in part by the National Archives Foundation through the generous support of HISTORY®, the Lawrence F. O'Brien Family, The Tasting Panel Magazine, and Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America. Additional exhibition funding provided by the Beer Institute, the Distilled Spirits Council of the U.S., the National Alcohol Beverage Control Association, and the National Beer Wholesalers Association.

Program Highlights

  • “Spirited Republic”
    A number of programs are connected to our new exhibit, “Spirited Republic,” which explores alcohol in American history. See a free screening of The Thin Man (April 25); watch short films featured in our exhibit (April 17).
  • Activities in the Boeing Learning Center
    Celebrate the cherry blossoms and learn to make origami (April 1) and learn about friendship at our storytime for pre-schoolers (April 15).
  • Capital Dames with Cokie Roberts
    Cokie Roberts and Presidential historian Michael Beschloss mark the sesquicentennial of the Civil War with a riveting look at the experiences of the women of Washington, DC (April 20).
  • My Journey with Maya with Tavis Smiley
    Tavis Smiley, the host of PBS's “Tavis Smiley,” recounts the story of his enduring friendship with Maya Angelou (April 10).
  • DC Emancipation and 19th-Century Life
    A panel discusses what 19th-century life was like for enslaved and free African Americans in Washington, DC (April 16).
  • First Ladies: Private Lives, Public Image
    Susan Swain, president of C-SPAN, leads a discussion on all forty-five First Ladies (April 23).
  • A Higher Standard: Leadership Strategies from America's First Female Four-Star General
    General Ann Dunwoody, the first female four-star general in military history, shares leadership lessons (April 28).
  • End of the Civil War Book Fair (April 18)
  • Noontime Lectures
    Hear the authors of Fortune’s Fool: The Life of John Wilkes Booth (April 7); President Lincoln Assassinated!!: The Firsthand Story of the Murder, Manhunt, Trial, and Mourning (April 16); Lincoln’s Autocrat: The Life of Edwin Stanton (April 22); and Celebrity in Chief: A History of the Presidents and the Culture of Stardom (April 24).
  • Know Your Records
    Get started with the Introduction to Genealogy workshop (April 1); learn how to link parents and children when pre-1850 birth records are not available (April 1); discover how to use naturalization proceedings from New England courts (April 15); get help from an archivist (April 18).

Locations, Hours, and Contact Information

All events listed in the calendar are free unless noted. Reservations for McGowan Theater programs are not required but are recommended. Use the new online event registration system from the National Archives Foundation to reserve your seats:
1. Register at www.archivesfoundation.org/events/
2. Print your email confirmation and bring it with you.
3. To reserve by phone, call 202-357-6814. Walk-ins without reservations will be admitted, depending on available seats.

For McGowan Theater programs, use the Special Events Entrance on Constitution Avenue. The doors to the building will open 45 minutes prior to the start of the program.

Current Exhibitions

Lost and Found

  • National Archives at Washington, DC: 202-357-5023
  • National Archives at College Park: 301-837-2900

Wednesday, April 1, at 11 a.m.
Room G-25, Research Center (Penn. Ave. Entrance)
Introduction to Genealogy at the National Archives

Learn how to do basic genealogical research using Federal records at the National Archives. Lectures take place on the first Wednesday of each month.

Wednesday, April 1, at 2 p.m.
William G. McGowan Theater & US National Archives YouTube Channel
Using Pre-1850 Census to Find Family Relationships

Broadcast from the National Archives at Boston, archivist Jean Nudd, shows how to link parents and children when pre-1850 birth records are not available. Presentation slides | Handout | Captioning

Wednesday, April 1, 5:30–7:30 p.m.
Boeing Learning Center
Origami Hands-On Adult Workshop

Celebrate the cherry blossoms by learning how to fold traditional Japanese origami. Discover how this iconic art connects to the National Archives. Create your own origami masterpiece to take with you. To register or for more information please email to education@nara.gov with “Adult Workshops” in the subject line.

Tuesday, April 7, noon
William G. McGowan Theater & US National Archives YouTube Channel
Fortune’s Fool: The Life of John Wilkes Booth

John Wilkes Booth catapulted into history on the night of April 14, 1865, when he assassinated President Lincoln. Historian Terry Alford looks at the man whose life has been overshadowed by his final, infamous act. A book signing will follow the program. Make your free reservation.

 

 

 

 

 

Friday, April 10, at 7 p.m.
William G. McGowan Theater & US National Archives YouTube Channel
My Journey with Maya with Tavis Smiley

Tavis Smiley, the host of PBS's “Tavis Smiley” and Public Radio International's “The Tavis Smiley Show,” recounts the story of his enduring friendship with Maya Angelou. Michel Martin, National Public Radio journalist, joins Smiley. Presented in partnership with the Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture. A book signing will follow. Make your free reservation.

Wednesday, April 15, 10–11 a.m.
Boeing Learning Center
Story Time in the ReSource Room for Pre-Schoolers and Adults

Join us for story time designed for three- to five-year-olds and accompanying adults. Children will practice their listening skills, participate in group activities, and create a craft. The theme for April is friendship.

Wednesday, April 15, at 2 p.m.
William G. McGowan Theater & US National Archives YouTube Channel
Early Naturalization Records from New England States, 1790–1906

Broadcast from the National Archives at Boston, archivist, Joseph Keefe discusses how to use naturalization proceedings—from federal, state, county, and local courts—from Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont between 1790 and September 26, 1906. Presentation slides | Handout | Captioning

Thursday, April 16, at noon
William G. McGowan Theater & US National Archives YouTube Channel
President Lincoln Assassinated!!: The Firsthand Story of the Murder, Manhunt, Trial, and Mourning

Historian Harold Holzer recaptures the drama of Lincoln’s assassination, the hunt for the conspirators and their military trial, and the nation’s mourning for the martyred president. Using original eyewitness reports, medical records, trial transcripts, newspaper articles, speeches, diary entries, and poems, Holzer reveals of one the most shocking and tragic events in our history. A book signing will follow the program. Make your free reservation.

Thursday, April 16, at 7 p.m.
William G. McGowan Theater & US National Archives YouTube Channel
DC Emancipation and 19th-Century Life

What was 19th-century life like for enslaved and free African Americans in Washington, DC? What was the impact of DC Emancipation in and around the city? A distinguished panel discusses these topics as well as how the assassination of President Lincoln was observed after the Civil War. John Franklin of the National Museum of African American History and Culture moderates Elizabeth Clark-Lewis, Howard University; George Musgrove, UMBC; and Chris Myers, Washington History. Presented in partnership with DC City Government and NMAAHC. Make your free reservation.

Friday, April 17, noon
William G. McGowan Theater
From the Vaults: Spirited Republic

See America on the Rocks, a 1973 film from the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare; For Which We Stand—Let’s Get it Straight, a 1950 film made by the U.S. Navy; and others. Excerpts from these films are featured in our new exhibit, “Spirited Republic.” Parental guidance suggested. Make your free reservation.

Saturday, April 18, 11 a.m.–4 p.m.
William G. McGowan Theater
End of the Civil War Book Fair

Make your free reservation.

11 a.m. Watch live on US National Archives YouTube Channel
A Finger in Lincoln’s Brain: What Modern Science Reveals about Lincoln, His Assassination, and Its Aftermath
E. Lawrence Abel sheds light on the details surrounding the death of Abraham Lincoln, including John Wilkes Booth's illness, the alleged medical treatment the wounded President received, and the significance of his funeral for the American public.

 

 

 

 

 

12:30 p.m. Watch live on US National Archives YouTube Channel
Marching Home: Union Veterans and Their Unending Civil War
Civil War historian Brian Matthew Jordan describes how veterans—left tending rotting wounds, battling alcoholism, and campaigning for paltry pensions—realized that they stood as unwelcome reminders to a new America eager to heal and forget.

 

 

 

 

 

2 p.m. Watch live on US National Archives YouTube Channel
Their Last Full Measure: The Final Days of the Civil War
Historian Joseph Wheelan relates the dramatic events which followed one after another, leading ultimately to Lee’s surrender at Appomattox and Lincoln’s assassination. Book signings will follow each discussion.

Saturday, April 18, at noon-4 p.m.
Room G-25, Research Center (Penn. Ave. Entrance)
“Help! I'm Stuck” Genealogy Consultation

Not sure where to begin? Has a genealogical problem stumped you? An archivist is available from noon to 4 p.m. to answer your questions. Sign up for a 20-minute appointment at the Microfilm Research desk on Saturday.

 

 

Monday, April 20, at 7 p.m.
William G. McGowan Theater & US National Archives YouTube Channel
Capital Dames: The Civil War and the Women of Washington, 1848-1868

Cokie Roberts and Presidential historian Michael Beschloss mark the sesquicentennial of the Civil War with a riveting look at the experiences, influence, and contributions of the women of Washington, DC, during this momentous period of American history. Using newspaper articles, government records, and private letters and diaries—many never before published—Roberts brings the war-torn capital into focus through the lives of its formidable women. A book signing will follow the program. Make your free reservation.

 

 

 

Wednesday, April 22, at noon
William G. McGowan Theater & US National Archives YouTube Channel
Lincoln’s Autocrat: The Life of Edwin Stanton

Edwin Stanton wielded enormous influence and power as Lincoln's Secretary of War during the Civil War and under Johnson during the early years of Reconstruction. William Marvel reexamines Stanton's life, career, and legacy. A book signing follows the program. Make your free reservation.

 

 

 

 

 

Thursday, April 23, at 7 p.m.
William G. McGowan Theater & US National Archives YouTube Channel
First Ladies: Private Lives, Public Image

Susan Swain, president and co-chief operating officer of C-SPAN, leads a discussion on all forty-five First Ladies—their lives, their ambitions, and their unique partnerships with their Presidential spouses. A book signing will follow the program. Make your free reservation.

Carl Sferrazza Anthony, author and historian of the National First Ladies Library; Edna Greene Medford, chair of the history department at Howard University; Krissah Thompson, journalist; and author and journalist Carl Cannon will join Swain.

From Martha Washington to Michelle Obama, the women in this role have sought to balance their families’ private lives with the public expectations of the First Family. Along the way, they have had to adapt to changing social expectations, media scrutiny, and public fascination. A book signing will follow the program.

Friday, April 24, at noon
William G. McGowan Theater & US National Archives YouTube Channel
Celebrity in Chief: A History of the Presidents and the Culture of Stardom

Award-winning White House correspondent and Presidential historian Kenneth T. Walsh looks at the history of America’s Presidents. He argues that modern Presidents need to be celebrities, building on their fame to rally public support for themselves as national leaders so that they can get things done. A book signing will follow the program. Make your free reservation.

 

 

 

 

Saturday, April 25, at 2 p.m.
William G. McGowan Theater
The Thin Man

In this “sleeper” hit from 1934, William Powell and Myrna Loy play Nick and Nora Charles, a retired detective and his socialite wife who—when not enjoying cocktails—are pressed into service when a friend disappears after a murder. Directed by W.S. Van Dyke. (93 minutes.) Make your free reservation.

 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday, April 28, at noon
William G. McGowan Theater & US National Archives YouTube Channel
A Higher Standard: Leadership Strategies from America's First Female Four-Star General

General Ann Dunwoody, the first female four-star general in military history, shares leadership lessons from her 38 years of service in the Army. A book signing follows. Make your free reservation.

 

 

 

 

 

Boeing Learning Center

The ReSource room is a hands-on space open to all, Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Document-based programs are available for groups in the Learning Lab. Reservations are required; contact learninglab@nara.gov or visit www.archives.gov/education/student-visits/dc.html.

The ReSource Room is open Monday–Saturday, 10 a.m.–4 p.m.

Exhibitions

New Exhibit! “Spirited Republic: Alcohol in American History Who was the “lady hootch hunter?” What is a “drunkometer?” And why did some Americans campaign against the “spirit ration?” Find these answers and more in this fascinating collection of alcohol-related posters, films, patent drawings, petitions, photographs, and artifacts. Visit “Spirited Republic” and learn about American debates about alcohol and its place in society. Lawrence F. O’Brien Gallery, March 6–January 10, 2016

Spirited Republic is presented in part by the National Archives Foundation through the generous support of HISTORY®, the Lawrence F. O'Brien Family, The Tasting Panel Magazine, and Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America. Additional exhibition funding provided by the Beer Institute, the Distilled Spirits Council of the U.S., the National Alcohol Beverage Control Association, and the National Beer Wholesalers Association.

Records of Rights
“Records of Rights” explores how Americans have worked to realize their nation’s ideals of freedom. The exhibit features the 1297 Magna Carta, on permanent loan from David M. Rubenstein. The 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act on display in the Landmark Document case. David M. Rubenstein Gallery

1297 Magna Carta
The 1297 Magna Carta, on permanent loan from David M. Rubenstein, is featured in the “Records of Rights” exhibit. David M. Rubenstein Gallery

Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom

  • Declaration of Independence
  • Constitution
  • Bill of Rights

The Charters of Freedom: Our Nation’s Founding Documents” takes a fresh look at the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. Using historical documents from the holdings of the National Archives, we answer two key questions about the Charters: "How did they happen?" and "Why are they important?" Rotunda

The Public Vaults” invites visitors into virtual stack areas to discover historic documents, films, maps, and photographs from the National Archives. A rare print on parchment of the Declaration of Independence–made from the original copperplate engraved by William J. Stone in 1823—is on display for a limited time. Courtesy of David M. Rubenstein


Featured Documents on Display in Washington, DC

Featured Document Display: A First Responder’s Report on the Assassination of President Lincoln
Twenty-three-year-old Charles Leale was the first physician to arrive at the wounded President’s side. His eyewitness report takes us to the scene of a crime that altered the future of the United States. East Rotunda Gallery, through April 29

Featured Document Display: 100th Anniversary of the Sinking of the RMS Lusitania
The Lusitania sank in 18 minutes and only six of the ship’s lifeboats were successfully deployed. Nearly 1,200 passengers and crew died. A drawing of a lifeboat used in the Lusitania liability case is on display. East Rotunda Gallery, April 30–June 3


Special Exhibition in College Park, Maryland

Auditorium Lobby at the National Archives Research Center:

"The Long View" features digitally produced facsimiles of historic panoramic photographs from the Still Picture holdings.

Motorcycle Corps, Army Motor Service - Under Command of J. S. Berryman. US Capitol. Wash., DC. Jan. 26, 1919, By R. S. Clements. Records of the War Department General and Special Staffs (165-PP-60-47)

The exhibit not only showcases the wide variety of panoramic techniques, but also includes National Archives records such as cartographic maps and patent drawings that relate to the photographs. Thirty-four panoramas and other records are on display and span the period from 1864 to 1997.
See more panoramas online


Online Exhibits

Dozens of exhibits can be experienced online. Visit Now!

Records of Rights
Explore records of the National Archives documenting the ongoing struggle of Americans to define, attain, and protect their rights.

Discovery and Recovery: Preserving Iraqi Jewish Heritage
Startling evidence of the once vibrant Jewish life in Iraq came to light in May 2003—over 2,700 books and tens of thousands of documents were discovered in the flooded basement of the Iraqi intelligence headquarters by a U.S. Army team.

To the Brink: JFK and the Cuban Missile Crisis
An exhibit marking the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis.

What's Cooking Uncle Sam? logo “What’s Cooking, Uncle Sam?”
Unearth the stories and personalities behind the increasingly complex programs and legislation that affect what we eat. Learn about the Government’s extraordinary efforts, successes, and failures to change our eating habits. Find out why the Government wanted us to “Eat the Carp,” “Share the Meat,” and “Know Our Onions.” There are over 100 original records in the exhibit—including folk songs, war posters, educational films, and even seed packets. From Revolutionary War rations to Cold War cultural exchanges, discover the multiple ways that food has occupied the hearts and minds of Americans and their Government.
Online exhibit

You will be able to watch our archived programs on Ustream for a limited time while the landing page is still active. www.ustream.tv/usnationalarchives


Locations, Hours, and Contact Information

The National Archives Museum
Constitution Avenue between 7th and 9th Streets, NW, Washington, DC

For details, see the Visitor's Guide or visit the National Archives Museum.

Exhibit Hours:

  • 10 a.m.–5:30 p.m.
  • Last admission is at 5 p.m.
  • Open every day except Thanksgiving and December 25.

Admission free.

All events listed in the calendar are free unless noted. Reservations for McGowan Theater programs are not required but are recommended. Use the new online event registration system from the National Archives Foundation to reserve your seats:
1. Register at www.archivesfoundation.org/events/
2. Print your email confirmation and bring it with you.
3.To reserve by phone, call 202-357-6814. Walk-ins without reservations will be admitted, depending on available seats.

For McGowan Theater programs, use the Special Events Entrance on Constitution Avenue. The doors to the building will open 45 minutes prior to the start of the program.

For reservations or to be placed on the mailing list, call 202-357-5000, or toll free at 1-877-874-7616, or e-mail public.program@nara.gov.

Museum Visit Reservations: To make reservations to visit the museum, especially during the height of the tourist season and holiday periods use online reservations.


The National Archives Research Center
700 Penn. Ave., NW, Washington, DC and 8601 Adelphi Road, College Park, MD.

Research Hours for both locations:

Check the Washington, DC and College Park, MD location information for records pull times and other important details.

Call 202-357-5450 for a docent-led guided tour.

wheelchair icon TDD: 301-837-0482. The National Archives is fully accessible. To request an accommodation (such as a sign language interpreter) for a public program, please call 202-357-5000, or toll free at 1-877-874-7616, or email public.program@nara.gov at least two weeks prior to the event.


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