Washington, DC Area Events

July 2014
Washington, DC, Area Events

The Fife and Drum Corps perform at the National Archives’ July 4 celebration.

You can now watch our programs live on YouTube. Unlike Ustream, YouTube does not have one landing page to view our events. Each event will have its own link, which is included at the end of the descriptions on this page.

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

Program Highlights

  • 50th Anniversary of Civil Rights Act
    Two Academy Award®–winning documentaries, A Time for Justice and Mighty Times, portray episodes from the battle for civil rights. (July 1)
  • July 4th at the National Archives!
    Celebrate with us on the Constitution Avenue steps between 7th and 9th Streets as historical reenactors give a dramatic reading of the Declaration of Independence (10 a.m.-11 a.m.), followed by family activities inside the National Archives building (11 a.m.-4 p.m.)
  • Jazz: A Film by Ken Burns
    View the three episodes of this Ken Burns documentary on American jazz on July 11, 18, and 25.
  • Crisis: Behind a Presidential Commitment
    Robert Drew’s film chronicles President Kennedy’s clash with Governor George Wallace over racial integration at the University of Alabama in 1963. (July 29)
  • Let There Be Light
    See Academy Award®–winning director John Huston’s film Let There Be Light in high-definition, preserved and digitally restored by the National Archives Motion Picture Preservation Lab. Canceled, may be rescheduled (July 23)
  • Educational Workshops
    Families act as researchers and archivists and learn about the Constitution during a two-hour simulation (July 10, 23, 29); learn about our new exhibit and come make your mark during our "Making Their Mark" Family Day (July 18); and attend a Genealogy Camp for kids (July 21–25).
  • Noontime Lectures
    Hear the authors of Liberty’s Torch: The Great Adventure to Build the Statue of Liberty (July 2) South Pacific Cauldron: World War II’s Great Forgotten Battlegrounds (July 8); Kidnapping the Enemy: The Special Operations to Capture Generals Charles Lee and Richard Prescott (July 16); and Five Came Back: A Story of Hollywood and the Second World War Canceled, may be rescheduled (July 23). Learn more about the history of Congress with talks about the "Petition and American Government Project" (July 10) and Hispanic Americans in Congress (July 31).
  • Know Your Records
    Get started with the Introduction to Genealogy workshop (July 2); attend a Genealogy Camp for kids (July 21-25); and learn how to navigate Archives.gov for your family history research (July 30).

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

Tuesday, July 1, at noon
William G. McGowan Theater
A Time for Justice and Mighty Times: The Children’s March

In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, we present two Academy Award-winning documentaries. A Time for Justice (1994; 38 minutes) depicts the battle for civil rights as told by its foot soldiers. Directed by four-time Academy Award winner Charles Guggenheim, the film reveals the heroism of individuals who risked their lives for the cause of freedom and equality. Mighty Times: The Children’s March (2004; 40 minutes) tells the story of how the young people of Birmingham, Alabama, braved fire hoses and police dogs in 1963 and brought segregation to its knees. Both films are being screened courtesy of Teaching Tolerance, a project of the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Wednesday, July 2, 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, July 2, at noon
William G. McGowan Theater
Liberty’s Torch: The Great Adventure to Build the Statue of Liberty

Elizabeth Mitchell tells the definitive, extraordinary story of the Statue of Liberty and dispels the myths around its creation. A book signing will follow.
US National Archives YouTube ChannelWatch live on YouTube

 

July 4th Celebration

Celebrate July 4th at the National Archives Building on the Constitution Avenue steps between 7th and 9th Streets.

Friday, July 4
10 a.m.–11 a.m.
Declaration of Independence Reading Ceremony

  • Presentation of colors by the Continental Color Guard*
  • Performance by the Fife and Drum Corps*
  • Remarks by Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero
  • Steve Scully, C-SPAN, Emcee
  • Dramatic reading of the Declaration of Independence by special guests including Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and Ned Hector (portrayed by historical reenactors)
  • Performance by Christopher Ullman, four-time international whistling champion
  • Reserved seating in the William G. McGowan Theater is now full.

* Continental Color Guard and Fife and Drum Corps provided by U.S. 3rd Infantry, the Old Guard

US National Archives YouTube ChannelWatch live on YouTube

11 a.m.–4 p.m.
Inside the National Archives Building, Boeing Learning Center

  • Take part in hands-on family activities, including storytime and crafts.
  • Between noon and 2 p.m., meet Revolutionary figures: Abigail and John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, John Hancock, Ned Hector, Thomas Jefferson, and George Washington.

July 4th at the National Archives is made possible in part by the Foundation for the National Archives with the generous support of Lead Sponsor John Hancock Financial and Dykema.

Tuesday, July 8, at noon
William G. McGowan Theater
South Pacific Cauldron: World War II’s Great Forgotten Battlegrounds

Author Alan Rems discusses forgotten South Pacific battlegrounds such as Buna, the torpedo-infested waters off New Georgia, and the deadly skies over Rabaul and Wewak. Rems also looks at the major figures and fighting men on both sides of the South Pacific campaigns. A book signing will follow.
US National Archives YouTube ChannelWatch live on YouTube

 

 

 

 

Thursday, July 10, at noon
William G. McGowan Theater
Washington’s Civil War Forts and Parks

During the Civil War, the Union army constructed a series of earthen defenses in and around Washington to protect the nation’s capital from attack. The defeat of Confederate forces at one of these―Fort Stevens―helped keep Washington in Union control. Dr. B. Franklin Cooling, historian, author, and Professor of History, National Defense University, Loretta Neumann, Vice President, Alliance to Preserve the Civil War Defenses of Washington, and Kym Elder, Program Manager, Civil War Defenses of Washington, National Park Service, will discuss the development of Washington’s Civil War forts, their role in the war, and their ensuing transformation into the public parks and cultural resources known as the Fort Circle Parks. This program is presented in partnership with the National Capital Planning Commission and will function as the informal kick-off for the official commemoration of the 150th anniversary of The Battle of Fort Stevens.
US National Archives YouTube ChannelWatch live on YouTube

 

Thursday, July 10, at noon
Room G-25, Research Center (Penn. Ave. Entrance)
The Petition and American Government Project

Daniel Carpenter, Freed Professor of Government, discusses Harvard University's "Petition and American Government Project." Presented by the Center for Legislative Archives. For additional information, contact the Center at 202-357-5350.

Thursday, July 10
Wednesday, July 23
Tuesday, July 29
10 am.-noon and 2-4 p.m.
Boeing Learning Center
Constitution-in-Action Learning Lab Family Program

Families act as researchers and archivists during a two-hour simulation as they help the President and his communications director prepare for a press conference by locating and analyzing facsimile documents to find the connection to the Constitution. This is a great way to explore history, learn about the National Archives, and understand the role the Constitution plays in our daily lives. Reservations are required at least 24 hours in advance. Email learninglab@nara.gov with date and time, names of adults and children, phone number, and mailing address.

Friday, July 11, at noon
William G. McGowan Theater
Jazz: A Film by Ken Burns

Episode Seven: Dedicated to Chaos. During World War II, swing became a symbol of democracy at home. Bandleaders enlisted and took their music to the armed forces overseas. The new style of “bebop” began to spread, altering the course of jazz forever. (120 minutes.)

Wednesday, July 16, at noon
William G. McGowan Theater
Kidnapping the Enemy: The Special Operations to Capture Generals Charles Lee and Richard Prescott

When British dragoons kidnapped Major General Charles Lee, the second-in-command in the Continental Army, they were confident the rebellion would soon be over. But stung by Lee’s kidnapping, the Americans decided to respond with their own special operation. Author Christian McBurney discusses this and other attempts to kidnap high-ranking military officers and government officials during the Revolutionary War. A book signing will follow.
US National Archives YouTube ChannelWatch live on YouTube

 

Friday, July 18, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Boeing Learning Center
“Making Their Mark” Family Day

Come make your mark during our “Making Their Mark” Family Day! Explore the new exhibit and then try your hand at make-and-take projects, hands-on activities, games, and more.
This program is made possible by the Foundation for the National Archives, Lead Sponsor AT&T, the Lawrence F. O’Brien Family, Fahrney’s Pens, Cross, and Parker Pen Company––Newell Rubbbermaid.

Friday, July 18, at noon
William G. McGowan Theater
Jazz: A Film by Ken Burns

Episode Eight: Risk. In the postwar years, the nation’s musical tastes changed, as young people turned to sentimental singers and rhythm and blues. And devastating drug addiction swept through the jazz community. (120 minutes.)

Monday, July 21, to Friday, July 25, 9 a.m.-noon
Boeing Learning Center

Genealogy Camp for Kids
Ever wondered who is on your family tree? This hands-on, week-long camp for kids (ages 12 to 16) introduces the basics of genealogy research and the resources of the National Archives To register, or for more information, email education@nara.gov with “Genealogy Camp” in the subject line.

Regretfully, this program is canceled. It may be rescheduled for a later date.
Wednesday, July 23, at noon
William G. McGowan Theater
Five Came Back: A Story of Hollywood and the Second World War

Author Mark Harris tells the story of how Hollywood changed World War II–and how World War II changed Hollywood–through the prism of five legendary American film directors caught up in the war: John Ford, William Wyler, John Huston, Frank Capra, and George Stevens. A book signing follows the program.

 

 

 

 

Academy Award®–winning director John Huston’s film Let There Be Light

Regretfully, this program is canceled. It may be rescheduled for a later date.
Wednesday, July 23, at 2 p.m.
William G. McGowan Theater
Let There Be Light

See Academy Award®–winning director John Huston’s film Let There Be Light in high-definition now that it has been preserved and digitally restored by the National Archives Motion Picture Preservation Lab. The film was commissioned by the U.S. Army Signal Corps and follows the treatment of emotionally traumatized GIs from their admission at a psychiatric hospital to their reentry into civilian life. (1946; 58 minutes)

Friday, July 25, at noon
William G. McGowan Theater
Jazz: A Film by Ken Burns

Episode Nine: The Adventure. Beneath post-war prosperity is a growing demand for civil rights. Duke Ellington experiences a rebirth after a triumphant appearance at the 1956 Newport Jazz Festival. (120 minutes.)

Tuesday, July 29, at 7 p.m.
William G. McGowan Theater
Crisis: Behind a Presidential Commitment

First aired on ABC television in 1963, Robert Drew's cinéma vérité documentary chronicles how President John F. Kennedy and his brother Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy clashed with Governor George Wallace over the enrollment of African-American students Vivian Malone and James Hood at the University of Alabama. (52 minutes) Following the screening, NPR's Michele Norris Johnson moderates a discussion featuring former CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather; journalist Charlayne Hunter Gault, who in 1961 was one of the first two African American students to enroll in the University of Georgia; Peggy Wallace Kennedy, daughter of George Wallace; and Dr. Sharon Malone, sister of Vivian Malone Jones. This program is presented in partnership with the 2014 March on Washington Film Festival.

Wednesday, July 30, at 11 a.m.
Room G-25, Research Center (Penn. Ave. Entrance)
Genealogy Using Online Resources of the National Archives

Learn how to navigate Archives.gov for your family history research with archives specialist Nancy Wing.

Thursday, July 31, at noon
Room G-25, Research Center (Penn. Ave. Entrance)
Hispanic Americans in Congress

Matt Wasniewski, the Historian of the House of Representatives, discusses Hispanic Americans in Congress, the most recent publication of the House history office. Presented by the Center for Legislative Archives. For additional information, contact the Center at 202-357-5350.

Boeing Learning Center

An exciting space designed to provide parents and educators of all levels with methods and materials for teaching with primary source documents. Open Monday–Saturday, 10 a.m.–4 p.m.

Learn more about Education programs at the National Archives.

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

Exhibitions

Making Their Mark: Stories Through Signatures
“Making Their Mark: Stories through Signatures” displays both famous and little-known signatures found in the holdings of the National Archives. Discover the invention Michael Jackson patented; see “signature” items worn by Jacqueline Kennedy, Dwight Eisenhower, and First Lady Michelle Obama; and discover what prompted Katharine Hepburn, Johnny Cash, and Jackie Robinson to write to the government. “Making Their Mark” explores the stores behind the signatures that made their mark on the American narrative. Through January 5, 2015, in the Lawrence F. O’Brien Gallery.

"Records of Rights"
This exhibit uses original documents, photographs, facsimiles, videos, and interactive exhibits to explore how Americans have worked to realize the ideals of freedom enshrined in our nation’s founding documents and how they have debated issues such as citizenship, free speech, voting rights, and equal opportunity. The Executive Order signed by President Truman that ended segregation in the military will be on special display through June 17. Beginning June 18, The 1964 Civil Rights Act, which prohibited discrimination in public places, ended segregated public facilities, and forbade discrimination in employment, will be on display in commemoration of its 50th anniversary. David M. Rubenstein Gallery

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

Orientation Plaza
This beautiful space features a short video introduction to the National Archives and its activities, a video orientation wall highlighting the eight prime visitor destinations within the National Archives Museum, and touch-screen mapping stations. Ground Level

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

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.

This year’s featured adventurer in “Polar Exploration” is explorer Robert E. Peary, who made two unsuccessful attempts before finally claiming to reach the Pole in 1909.


Featured Documents on Display in Washington, DC

Featured Document Display: GI Bill of Rights
Signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on June 22, 1944, the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act, also known as the GI Bill of Rights, provided World War II veterans with funds for college education, unemployment insurance, and housing. East Rotunda Gallery, June 6–July 14.
The National Archives Museum’s "Featured Documents" exhibit is made possible in part by the Foundation for the National Archives through the generous support of Toyota.

Featured Document Display: Tonkin Gulf Resolution
Fifty years ago, Congress passed and President Lyndon B. Johnson signed this joint resolution authorizing the President “to take all necessary measures to repeal any armed attack against the forces of the United States and to prevent any further aggression” in Southeast Asia, greatly increasing the scope of U.S. involvement in Vietnam. East Rotunda Gallery, July 15–August 7


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!

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

Discovering the Civil War ExhibitDiscovering the Civil War
Unlock secrets, solve mysteries, and uncover unexpected events in this most extensive display ever assembled from the incomparable Civil War holdings of the National Archives.
Online exhibit

child with coal dust on face Eyewitness:  American Originals from the National Archives
Drawing on rarely displayed documents, audio recordings, and film footage culled from the extensive holdings of the National Archives and its Presidential libraries, "Eyewitness" features first-person accounts of watershed moments in history. Online exhibit


Locations, Hours, and Contact Information

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

For details, see the Visitor's Map or visit the National Archives Experience.

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 are not required unless noted. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. For McGowan Theater programs, the doors to the building will open 30 minutes prior to the start of the program. Use the Special Events entrance on Constitution Avenue.

For details, see the Visitor's Map or visit the National Archives Experience.

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. As of March 15, 2013, the last reservation slot is 4:30 p.m. If you have a reservation for later than 4:30 p.m., you will have to reschedule the visit.


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.


Top of Page

PDF files require the free Adobe Reader.
More information on Adobe Acrobat PDF files is available on our Accessibility page.

Washington, DC Area Events >

The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration
1-86-NARA-NARA or 1-866-272-6272

.