Washington, DC Area Events

January 2015
Washington, DC, Area Events

Photo by Jeffery Reed

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

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.

Program Highlights

  • Moana with Sound
    Watch a newly restored film of Robert Flaherty’s 1920s documentary of life in Samoa (January 14).
  • Museum Selfie Day
    Come to the Boeing Learning Center and join people around the world taking selfies in museums to help raise awareness of these wonderful cultural resources. (January 21).
  • The Partisan Divide: Congress in Crisis
    Former chairs of the Democratic and Republican House campaign committees, Tom Davis (R-VA) and Martin Frost (D-TX), discuss legislative gridlock and explore the question, “Is Congress incapable of reforming itself?” (January 21)
  • Films
    See the North American premiere of To Tell the Truth: Working for Change, a history of the documentary film in the United States and United Kingdom (part one, January 23; part two, January 30). The Decade of Discovery tells the story of a government attorney searched for a better way to search White House email and a teacher who took a stand for civil justice on the electronic frontier (January 27).
  • Noontime Lectures
    A researcher discusses petitions to Congress concerning “Sex on the Frontier” (January 15); hear the authors of The Nazis Next Door: How America Became a Safe Haven for Hitler’s Men (January 20) and Iran-Contra: Reagan’s Scandal and the Unchecked Abuse of Presidential Power (January 28).
  • Know Your Records
    Hear the “voices” of Civil War soldiers (January 6 and 8); get started with the Introduction to Genealogy workshop (January 7) and bring your tough questions to a genealogy specialist (January 17).

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, January 6, at 11 a.m.
Room G-25, Research Center (Penn. Ave. Entrance)
Civil War Voices from the National Archives and a Private Collection

In recognition of the Civil War sesquicentennial, researcher John Emond presents dramatic, humorous, and poignant North and South soldier “voices” through their documents and letters.

Thursday, January 8, at 11 a.m.
Repeated at the National Archives at College Park, MD, Lecture Room C

Wednesday, January 7, 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.

Copyright 2014 The Robert and Frances Flaherty Study Center

Wednesday, January 14, at 7 p.m.
William G. McGowan Theater
Moana with Sound

In 1924, documentary film pioneer Robert Flaherty and his family traveled to the Samoan island of Savai'i to record the native life and make a film that would match the success of Nanook of the North. A half-century later, Flaherty’s youngest daughter, Monica, returned to the island to record local ambient sounds and traditional songs. Moana with Sound (98 minutes) premiered in Paris in 1981. Independent curator Bruce Posner, who has recently digitally restored the film, will introduce the screening. Presented in partnership with the National Gallery of Art.

Thursday, January 15, at noon
Room G-25, Research Center (Penn. Ave. Entrance)
Researcher Talk: “Sex on the Frontier”

Rebecca Edwards, Eloise Ellery Professor of History and Department Chair at Vassar College, will discuss her research in petitions sent to Congress for her topic, “Sex on the Frontier: Fertility and America’s Antebellum Empire.”

Saturday, January 17, 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.

Tuesday, January 20, at noon
William G. McGowan Theater
The Nazis Next Door: How America Became a Safe Haven for Hitler’s Men

Until recently, historians believed America gave asylum only to key Nazi scientists after World War II. But as Pulitzer Prize–winning author Eric Lichtblau explains in The Nazis Next Door, the CIA and FBI brought thousands of former Nazis to the United States as possible assets against their new Cold War enemies. A book signing will follow the program.
US National Archives YouTube ChannelWatch live on YouTube

Wednesday, January 21, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Boeing Learning Center
Museum Selfie Day

We all know that a picture is worth 1,000 words. We hope that one of your photographs will speak volumes on January 21. Join people around the world taking selfies in museums to help raise awareness of these wonderful cultural resources. Activities (and all selfies) take place in the Boeing Learning Center. #MuseumSelfie day

Wednesday, January 21, at 7:30 p.m.
William G. McGowan Theater
The Partisan Divide: Congress in Crisis

Is Congress incapable of reforming itself? Former chairs of the Democratic and Republican House campaign committees, Tom Davis (R-VA) and Martin Frost (D-TX), in their book The Partisan Divide, dissect the causes of legislative gridlock and argue a common-sense, bipartisan plan for making Congress function again. Dan Glickman from the Bipartisan Policy Center will lead a panel discussion with Davis and Frost and others. A book signing will follow the program. Presented in partnership with the U.S. Association of Former Members of Congress.
US National Archives YouTube ChannelWatch live on YouTube

 

 

 

Courtesy of Icarus Films

Friday, January 23, at noon
William G. McGowan Theater
To Tell the Truth: Working for Change (North American premiere)

To Tell the Truth is a two-part history of the documentary film in the United States and United Kingdom. Part one, covering the years 1929-1941, focuses on social movements, the Great Depression, the New Deal, and the awakening of the left wing in the UK. A film by Cal Scaggs. (2013; 56 minutes)

 

 

 

 

Courtesy of 10th Mountain Films

Tuesday, January 27, at 7 p.m.
William G. McGowan Theater
The Decade of Discovery

The Decade of Discovery follows events that unfolded between 2002 and 2012, when a government attorney took on a quest to find a better way to search White House email and a teacher took a stand for civil justice on the electronic frontier. Following the screening, there will be a panel discussion including director Joe Looby, Jason R. Baron, former National Archives’ Director of Litigation (who is featured in the film), Gary M. Stern, National Archives General Counsel, and Anne L. Weismann, Chief Counsel, Citizens for Ethics and Responsibility in Washington (CREW). (2014; 63 minutes.)

 

Wednesday, January 28, at noon
William G. McGowan Theater
Iran-Contra: Reagan’s Scandal and the Unchecked Abuse of Presidential Power

When a Nicaraguan soldier downed an American plane carrying arms to “Contra” guerrillas on October 5, 1986, a tightly held U.S. clandestine program was exposed. A month later, reports surfaced that Washington had beem covertly selling arms to Iran in exchange for help freeing hostages in Beirut. The profits from the arms sales were going to support the Contras, despite an explicit ban by Congress. In his book Iran-Contra, Malcolm Byrne describes the details of the confusing scandal that raised the prospect of Presidential impeachment. A book signing will follow the program.
US National Archives YouTube ChannelWatch live on YouTube

Friday, January 30, at noon
William G. McGowan Theater
To Tell the Truth: The Strategy of Truth (North American premiere)

Part two of this history of the documentary film explores the role of film as propaganda during World War II and the different forms it took in the United States, the UK, and Germany. It also raises the central question of whether a film can be both documentary–reflecting the truth–and propaganda. A film by David Van Taylor. (2013; 56 minutes)

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

Final days to see “Making Their Mark: Stories Through Signatures
Featuring original signatures from John Hancock to Magic Johnson, this new exhibit displays signatures from our nationwide holdings. From developing a signature style to signing groundbreaking policy into law, they illustrate the many ways people have “made their mark” on history. Lawrence F. O’Brien Gallery, through January 5.

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 1882 American Accession to the 1864 Geneva Convention, which attempted to establish rules for warfare and created the famous emblem of the International Red Cross, will be 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

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:  Surrender? “Nuts!” Gen. Anthony McAuliffe's 1944 Christmas Message to His Troops
In commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge, the National Archives presents a document display of Gen. Anthony McAuliffe’s Christmas message to his men besieged in Bastogne, Belgium. The December 24, 1944, message recounts McAuliffe’s famous reply of “Nuts!” to a German demand for surrender. East Rotunda Gallery, through January 5.

Featured Document Display: George Washington’s First Annual Message
For the 225th anniversary of the First Congress, the first Journal of the House of Representatives is on display, showing the final page of George Washington’s State of the Union speech. With this speech, Washington established the precedent of delivering a formal address to Congress to report on the state of the Union. East Rotunda Gallery, January 6–February 4.


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


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:

  • Monday - Saturday, 9 a.m.–5 p.m.
  • Closed on Federal holidays. Please note that all National Archives research rooms will be closed on Thursday, January 1, for New Year's Day.

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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