Washington, DC Area Events

July and August 2016
Washington, DC, Area Events

Celebrate Independence Day at the National Archives. Photo by Jeff Reed.

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.

 

  • July 4 at the National Archives
    Enjoy free musical performances on the steps of the National Archives (July 1 and 2), and a dramatic reading of the Declaration of Independence by reenactors, followed by hands-on family activities inside (July 4).

  • Education Activities
    Take on the roles of researchers and archivists in the Constitution-in-Action Learning Lab for families (July 6 and 7), celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Parks all month in the ReSource Room (August 1-31), and enjoy a special after-hours tour and go on an acting adventure to help get the 19th amendment “passed” (August 31).

  • Honoring the Black-Jewish Civil Rights Alliance
    An expert panel discusses the legacy of the historic connection between the African American and Jewish communities. Academy Award®-winning actor Louis Gossett, Jr., will give a special reading. (July 21).

  • Escape Room! Adult Workshop
    Tackle puzzles and ciphers to solve a mystery during this “escape room” for adults (August 3).

  • Film
    See a selection of films from our holdings in celebration of the 100th Anniversary of the National Park Service (August 25).

  • Noontime Lecture
    Hear the authors of Brilliant Beacons: A History of the American Lighthouse (July 19) and The World According to Star Wars (August 17).

  • Know Your Records
    Learn about the DC Emancipation Act (August 11).

  • Researcher Talk
    Professor Kate Masur discusses her book project, “Police Powers, the Anti-Slavery Movement, and the Origins of the Fourteenth Amendment.” (July 14).

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

 

Celebrate Independence Day at the National Archives. Photo by Jeff Reed.

July 4th Celebration

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

Indoor seating is available in the William G. McGowan Theater. Email specialevents@nara.gov.

Friday, July 1:
12:00 noon: Live musical performance by PanLara Youth Steel Orchestra
2-5 p.m.: Transcribe-a-thon in the National Archives Innovation Hub and online. Register now!

Saturday, July 2, noon
Live musical performance by DC Legendary Musicians

Monday, July 4
9-9:45 a.m.
Live musical performance by Brass Connection

10–11 a.m.
Declaration of Independence Reading Ceremony - Watch the Live Stream US National Archives YouTube Channel

Greetings from Allison Seymour, Fox 5 News Anchor
Presentation of colors by the Continental Color Guard*
Performance of the National Anthem by Caleb Green
Performance by the Fife and Drum Corps*
Remarks by Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero
Dramatic reading of the Declaration of Independence by re-enactors including Abigail and John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, John Hancock, Ned Hector, Thomas Jefferson, and George Washington

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

11–11:45 a.m.
Live musical performance by Brass Connection

11 a.m.–4 p.m.
Boeing Learning Center

  • Take part in hands-on family activities, including storytime and crafts.
  • Between noon and 4 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 National Archives Foundation with the generous support of John Hancock and Dykema.

 

Families enjoy activities in the Boeing Learning Center. Photo by Jeff Reed.

Wednesday, July 6; Thursday, July 7, 10 a.m.-noon
Boeing Learning Center
Constitution-in-Action Learning Lab Family Program

Families take on the role of researchers and archivists! During a two-hour simulation, families will work together to locate and analyze facsimile documents and find the connection to the Constitution. Reservations are required.

Made possible in part by the National Archives Foundation through the support of the John Hancock Financial.

Thursday, July 14, at noon
Room 25, Research Center (Penn. Ave. Entrance)
Black Sailors and Citizenship in the Era of the Gag Rule

Kate Masur, professor at Northwestern University, will discuss race, rights, and citizenship between the 1820s and the Civil War and her book project, “Police Powers, the Anti-Slavery Movement, and the Origins of the Fourteenth Amendment.”

Tuesday, July 19, at noon
William G. McGowan Theater & US National Archives YouTube Channel
Brilliant Beacons: A History of the American Lighthouse

Eric Jay Dolin traces the evolution of America’s lighthouse system, highlighting the political, military, and technological battles that were fought to illuminate the nation’s hardscrabble coastlines. A book signing follows the program.

Thursday, July 21, at 7 pm
William G. McGowan Theater & US National Archives YouTube Channel
Shared Legacies: Honoring the Black-Jewish Civil Rights Alliance

Deborah Lauter, director of civil rights for the Anti-Defamation League, moderates a panel on the legacy of the historic connection between the African American and Jewish communities. Panelists include Rabbi Ben Kamin, Clarence Jones, Susannah Heschel, and Rabbi Israel “Si” Dresner. Academy Award®-winning actor Louis Gossett, Jr., will give a special reading. Presented in partnership with the 2016 March on Washington Film Festival.

Monday-Saturday, August 1-31, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Boeing Learning Center
Featured Activities in ReSource Room

Celebrate the 100th birthday of the National Park Service by exploring documents and activities related to the more than 300 national parks across the United States. Find your park!

Wednesday, August 3, 5:30-7:30 p.m.
Boeing Learning Center
Escape Room! Hands-on Adult Workshop

Back by popular demand! Celebrate the NPS centennial. Tackle puzzles and ciphers about the National Park Service to solve a mystery in time during this “escape room” for adults. To register, email education@nara.gov, with subject line “Adult Workshops.”

Thursday, August 11, at 2 p.m.
William G. McGowan Theater & US National Archives YouTube Channel
DC Emancipation Act

In 1862, the DC Emancipation Act freed enslaved persons in the District of Columbia. Damani Davis, archivist, discusses petitions filed by owners and slaves under the Act. Presentation materials available online.

Wednesday, August 17 at noon
William G. McGowan Theater & US National Archives YouTube Channel
The World According to Star Wars

Cass Sunstein explores the lessons of Star Wars as they relate to childhood, fathers, the Dark Side, rebellion, and redemption. As it turns out, Star Wars also has a lot to teach us about constitutional law, economics, and political uprisings. Sunstein shines a bright new light on the most beloved story of our time. A book signing follows the program

Thursday, August 25, at noon
William G. McGowan Theater
From the Vaults: The National Park Service on Film

See a selection of films from our holdings in celebration of the 100th Anniversary of the National Park Service, including The Wapiti of Jackson Hole (1939), Cradle of the Father of Waters (1938), and The Fountain of Life: Rocky Mountain National Park (1984).

Presented in partnership with the National Park Service.

Wednesday, August 31, 5:30 p.m.
Boeing Learning Center
Amending America Hands-on Adult Workshop

Votes for Women! Help get the 19th amendment “passed.” Enjoy a special after-hours viewing of our “Amending America” exhibit before joining presenter Kate Campbell Stevenson on an acting adventure as she brings the women’s suffrage movement to life. To register, email education@nara.gov with Adult Workshops in the subject line.

Presented in part by AT&T, Seedlings Foundation, and the National Archives Foundation

 

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

 

Exhibitions

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. A court record from the Miranda v. Arizona decision is on view in the Landmark Documents case. It is the 50th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1966 decision, which transformed police procedures and the rights of the accused. Beginning June 15, the Freedom of Information Act will go on display to celebrate the 50th anniversary of its signing into law in 1966. 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


Special Exhibition in Washington, DC

Amending America
Only 27 times—out of more than 11,000 proposals—have Americans reached consensus to amend the Constitution. A new exhibit, “Amending America,” reveals the stories behind why some proposed amendments successfully became part of the Constitution, while others failed to gain enough support. Lawrence F. O’Brien Gallery, March 11, 2016–September 4, 2017

The “Amending America” exhibit and related programs are presented in part by AT&T, HISTORY®, the Lawrence F. O’Brien Family, Seedlings Foundation, and the National Archives Foundation.

Featured Documents on Display in Washington, DC

Featured Document Display: 100th Anniversary of the National Park Service
We will display the 1916 Organic Act signed by President Woodrow Wilson. This legislation created the National Park Service, bringing the management and preservation of national parks under the administration of a single agency. East Rotunda Gallery, June 30–August 31


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 email 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.

myArchives Store: Offers publications and gift items in support of National Archives exhibitions, education, and public programs. A 15% discount is offered on program-related books. Telephone 202-357-5271.


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 Monday, July 4 for Independence 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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The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration
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