Washington, DC Area Events

May 2016
Washington, DC, Area Events

Annette Gordon-Reed and Peter Onuf discuss the legacy of Thomas Jefferson on May 19. (Photos © Tony Rinaldo and © Kristin K. Onuf)

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.

Presented in part by the National Archives Foundation, AT&T, HISTORY®, and the Lawrence F. O'Brien Family.

Program Highlights

Annette Gordon-Reed, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award for The Hemingses of Monticello, and Peter Onuf, the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation Professor of History, discuss the legacy of Thomas Jefferson (May 19).

President Lincoln

  • Join us for a screening of Lincoln’s Greatest Speech: The Second Inaugural, a new documentary film based on the best-selling book (May 9)
  • Gary Zola, scholar and rabbi, and Erin Carlson Mast, executive director of President Lincoln’s Cottage, discuss why Lincoln was given the affectionate title “Rabbi” by America’s small, but growing Jewish population (May 31)

Family Activities

  • Learn about our Constitution during the “Amending America” Family Day (May 14) and take your preschooler to our Story Time about Victory Gardens (May 18).

Noontime Lectures

  • Hear the authors of The Last Lynching: How a Gruesome Mass Murder Rocked a Small Georgia Town (May 4); Landscapes for the People: George Alexander Grant, First Chief Photographer of the National Park Service (May 11); The White House Vice Presidency: The Path to Significance, Mondale to Biden (May 19); and The President's Book of Secrets: The Untold Story of Intelligence Briefings to America's Presidents from Kennedy to Obama (May 31).

Know Your Records

  • Learn the favorite films of our Motion Picture Lab staff (May 19); get help from an archivist (March 21); and learn about Civil War soldiers from their letters (May 25).

Researcher Talk

  • Learn about “The Early Years of the U.S. Joint Committee on Taxation and Some Current Implications” (May 19) and “The Politics and History of National Identification Documents in the United States, 1915-2015:  Lessons from the Archives.” (May 26).

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, May 4, at noon
William G. McGowan Theater & US National Archives YouTube Channel
The Last Lynching: How a Gruesome Mass Murder Rocked a Small Georgia Town

In 1946, the bodies of two men and two women were found near Moore’s Ford Bridge in rural Monroe, Georgia. Their killers were never identified. Drawing on some ten thousand previously classified documents from the FBI and National Archives, Anthony S. Pitch reveals the true story behind the last mass lynching in America. A book signing follows the program.

 

 

 

 

Monday, May 9, at 7 p.m.
William G. McGowan Theater & US National Archives YouTube Channel
Lincoln’s Greatest Speech: The Second Inaugural

Join us for a screening of a new documentary film based on the best-selling book. The film features actor Richard Dreyfuss giving a dramatic reading of the speech, followed by historical analysis. Filmmaker Ken Kebow and author Ronald C. White, Jr., will discuss the film and answer audience questions after the screening.

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, May 11, at noon
William G. McGowan Theater & US National Archives YouTube Channel
Landscapes for the People: George Alexander Grant, First Chief Photographer of the National Park Service

Although millions of people viewed George Alexander Grant’s photographs of the American landscape in the mid 20th century, few knew his name then or remember him now. Ren and Helen Davis share his story through his remarkable images, showing Grant’s unsurpassed love of the natural and historic places that Americans chose to preserve. A book signing follows the program.

Saturday, May 14, 10 a.m.–4 p.m.
Boeing Learning Center
Amending America Family Day

Only 27 times out of 11,000 proposals have Americans changed, or amended, the Constitution. So how do you change the Constitution? Come explore some of the successful and not-so-successful proposals.

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

Wednesday, May 18, 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 3- to 5-year-olds and accompanying adults. Children will practice their listening skills, participate in group activities, and create a craft. The theme for May is Victory Gardens.

Thursday, May 19, at noon
William G. McGowan Theater & US National Archives YouTube Channel
The White House Vice Presidency: The Path to Significance, Mondale to Biden

Joel Goldstein presents a comprehensive account of the Vice Presidency as the office has developed from Walter Mondale to Joe Biden. Goldstein will discuss how a constitutional office can evolve as well as the critical role of political leadership in institutional development. A book signing follows the program.

Thursday, May 19, at noon
Research Center, G-25 (Penn. Ave. Entrance)
The Early Years of the U.S. Joint Committee on Taxation and Some Current Implications

George Yin, professor of law and taxation at the University of Virginia and former Chief of Staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation, will discuss his research in the committee’s records and how the committee has shaped United States tax policies.

Thursday, May 19, at 2 p.m.
William G. McGowan Theater & US National Archives YouTube Channel
Favorite Films of the National Archives Motion Picture Lab

Preservation specialists Criss Kovac, Audrey Amidon, and Heidi Holmstrom share Federal government films they love, from the historically significant to the delightfully misguided. Presentation materials available online.

Thursday, May 19, at 7 p.m.
William G. McGowan Theater & US National Archives YouTube Channel
Most Blessed of the Patriarchs: Thomas Jefferson and the Empire of the Imagination

Thomas Jefferson’s actions and ideas still divide Americans two centuries later. Annette Gordon-Reed, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award for The Hemingses of Monticello, and Peter Onuf, the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation Professor of History, emeritus, at the University of Virginia, provide new insights into Jefferson’s views on Christianity, slavery, race, and philosophy. A book signing will follow the program.

Saturday, May 21, noon–4 p.m.
Microfilm Room, Research Center (Penn. Ave. Entrance)
"Help! I'm Stuck" Genealogy Consultation

Sign up for a 20-minute appointment at the Microfilm Research desk on Saturday on a first come, first served basis.

Wednesday, May 25, at 2 p.m.
William G. McGowan Theater & US National Archives YouTube Channel
Civil War Voices: Records from the National Archives and a Personal Collection

Researcher John Emond presents dramatic, humorous, and poignant “voices” of soldiers from the North and South through their documents and letters. Presentation materials available online.

Thursday, May 26, at noon
Research Center, G-25 (Penn. Ave. Entrance)
The Politics and History of National Identification Documents in the United States, 1915-2015: Lessons from the Archives

Magdalena Krajewska, assistant professor of political science at Wingate University, will discuss her research for her book manuscript, Identifying America.

Tuesday, May 31, at noon
William G. McGowan Theater & US National Archives YouTube Channel
The President's Book of Secrets: The Untold Story of Intelligence Briefings to America's Presidents from Kennedy to Obama

Beginning with John F. Kennedy, every President has received a short, personalized daily report from the intelligence community. This top-secret document is known as the President’s Daily Brief, or, within national security circles, as simply “the Book.” David Priess, former intelligence officer and daily briefer, offers an unprecedented window into the decision-making of every President from Kennedy to Obama. A book signing follows the program.

 

 

 

Rabbi Gary Zola

Tuesday, May 31, at 7 p.m.
William G. McGowan Theater & US National Archives YouTube Channel
We Called Him Rabbi Abraham: Lincoln and American Jewry, a Documentary History

Gary Zola is a scholar of the American Jewish experience and an ordained rabbi. Using newspaper clippings, letters, poems, and sermons—many never published before—Zola shows why Lincoln was given the affectionate title “Rabbi” by America’s small, but growing Jewish population. Erin Carlson Mast, executive director of President Lincoln’s Cottage, will join Zola for this conversation. A book signing follows the program. Presented in celebration of Jewish American Heritage Month in partnership with the Jewish Historical Society of Washington, DC, and President Lincoln’s Cottage.

 

 

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. 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, and the National Archives Foundation.

Featured Documents on Display in Washington, DC

Featured Document Display: Harvey Milk’s Letter to President Carter
In 1978, San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk wrote to President Carter asking for his support in defeating a ballot proposition that would have banned gay men and lesbians from working in California school districts. Milk’s letter and a portion of a speech he gave will be on display. East Rotunda Gallery, April 28–June 29


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, May 30, for Memorial 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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