Visiting the National Archives in Washington, DC


Rotunda at the National Archives

Reservations not required, but you can book a timed visit entry or reserve a guided tour for up to 15 people (at 9:45 a.m. Monday–Friday only).

ReSource Room at the Boeing Learning Center

Girl in Learning Center

Drop in during your museum visit to participate in hands-on activities and programs based on documents, images, maps, posters and more. Open Monday–Saturday, 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Reservations not required.

Constitution-in-Action Learning Lab at the Boeing Learning Center

Students in the Learning Lab

Bring your group of students, scouts, teachers, or other civic-minded individuals to explore how the actions of the Federal Government are based in our Constitution.

Participants take on the roles of archivists and researchers completing a very important assignment: providing the President of the United States with real-life examples of our Constitution in action. Working in replica storage and research spaces, participants will find, select and analyze document facsimiles. They will mine these primary sources for historical examples of Constitutional ideas like checks and balances and separation of powers, and connect them to specific passages in the Constitution to gain a greater understanding of the role it plays in our government and daily lives.


  • Reservations required
  • Ages 11–adult
  • 12–36 participants
  • 2 hours
  • Free

To Reserve

  • Reservations are available Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.
  • Choose 1st and 2nd dates of choice for your visit, and your preferred time: 10 a.m.–12 p.m. or 12:30 p.m.–2:30 p.m.
  • Complete the online application.

Prepare your group before arrival

Divide them into six teams, each assigned to review a particular portion of the Constitution:

Team 1 = Article 1, sections 1-7
Team 2 = Article 1, sections 8-10
Team 3 = Article 2, all sections
Team 4 = Article 3, all sections
Team 5 =Article 4, all sections
Team 6 =Articles 5, 6, and 7

Submit participants’ names according to team number.

Complete the online pre-visit preparation activities on DocsTeach, our online tool for teaching with documents.

Review the following ideas contained in the Constitution:

Representative Government: A system of government in which the people elect officials to govern for them. These officials are held accountable to the voters through periodic elections.

Federalism: A form of government in which there is a constitutional division of power between a central government and regional governments.

Checks and Balances: A system of overlapping powers of the separate branches of government that permits each branch to limit, restrain, or inform the actions of the other branches.

Separation of Powers: A basic principle of American government that places different governing duties and powers among three independent and coequal branches: legislative, executive and judicial.

Enumerated Powers: The powers of governing that are specifically defined and authorized in the actual wording of the Constitution.

Implied Powers: The powers of government that, while not specifically defined and authorized in the Constitution, are not specifically prohibited.

Civic Responsibility: Actions by the people that demonstrate their interest and participation in the governing of their country.

The Boeing Learning Center is made possible in part by the Foundation for the National Archives through the support of The Boeing Company and the William Randolph Hearst Foundation.

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information Weather Update:  In the event of severe weather, the National Archives facilities may be closed or open later in the day. Check our operating status, Facebook pages, and Twitter. Keep informed about our Washington, DC, area operating status through the OPM website or our status line 301-837-0700.

Location: The National Archives Building Constitution Avenue NW
(between 7th & 9th Streets)
Washington, DC 20408
Metro: Archives-Navy Memorial-Penn Quarter

Food Service: Boxed lunches are available from the Charters Cafe in the National Archives Museum. You can order in advance and pick them up when your group is ready to eat.

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