Visit the National Archives Experience
The National Archives Experience is home of the original Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights which are housed in the Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom; the Public Vaults permanent exhibit gallery; the Lawrence F. O'Brien temporary exhibit gallery; the Boeing Learning Center; and the William G. McGowan Theater.
The National Archives Experience is open every day except Thanksgiving and December 25 (see Museum Hours for operating schedule). Reservations are not required for individuals or groups wishing to enter the National Archives Experience through the general public entrance. The general public entrance is located at the corner of Constitution Avenue and 9th Street.
Visitors may wait in the general public line for entry at any time the museum is open. However, advance reservations are highly recommended and will allow visitors to avoid the exterior portion of the line to see the Charters of Freedom during the height of the tourist season (mid-March through Labor Day) and during holiday seasons such as the weeks of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's.
The convenience fee for online reservations is $1.50 per person and admission to all of the National Archives Experience exhibits is free.
Reserved visits are available at the following times:
- Guided Tours, 9:45 a.m., Monday through Friday
- Timed Visit Entry, 10 a.m. to 90 minutes before closing, daily
Individuals and groups may reserve up to 15 spaces for the Guided Tour (available only at 9:45 AM Monday - Friday).
Individuals may reserve up to 20 spaces and groups may reserve up to 100 spaces for a Timed Visit Entry (note - since only 50 spaces are available for each interval, any order of more than 50 spaces may cross multiple intervals).
Visitors with advance reservations enter through the Special Events door at Constitution Ave. and 7th Street and must be in line at the entrance at least 10 minutes prior to the start time of their visit. Security Screening will be conducted upon entry.
There are NO REFUNDS on any ticket orders. When the Archives is unexpectedly closed due to special events, national security concerns, or for other reasons, it will NOT be able to refund any money. In these cases, attempts will be made to re-book your tickets to another date. An unexpected closure of the National Archives is the ONLY time tours may be re-booked. All other orders are final and cannot be changed once payment is completed.
Reservations can also be made through the Call Center: 1-877-444-6777, Group Sales Reservations: 1-877-559-6777, or TDD: 1-877-833-6777.
As a special tribute to our Armed Forces, service personnel in uniform or presenting a valid military I.D. may enter through the Special Events entrance on the corner of Constitution Avenue and 7th Street. Family and guests are also welcome.
Foundation for the National Archives
Members of the Foundation for the National Archives and their guests may enter through the Special Events entrance at the corner of Constitution Avenue and 7th Street by showing their membership card.
National Archives Staff, Volunteers and Contractors
National Archives Staff, Volunteers, Contractors and their guests may enter through the Special Events entrance at the corner of Constitution Avenue and 7th street by showing their official National Archives I.D.
- It can take up to 1 hour or more to enter the building during the months of March, April and May, Thanksgiving weekend, the week between Christmas and New Year's Day and other times when there is heavy visitor traffic. We encourage you to come prepared for inclement weather while waiting outdoors.
- Leave backpacks, large bags, and metal jewelry behind in order to expedite the security check.
- All visitors are encouraged to begin their visit by viewing the 11-minute introductory film in the McGowan Theater.
- Plan on spending at least 90 minutes visiting three exhibit galleries- the Lawrence F. O'Brien changing exhibit gallery, the Public Vaults permanent exhibit gallery, and the Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom - home of the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights.
- The National Archives Shop is open daily, 10 am to closing.
- The Café is open Monday through Friday, 10am - 4pm.
- The National Archives Experience is ADA compliant and is therefore accessible to all persons. A limited number of manual wheelchairs are available for visitors on a first-come, first-serve basis.
- Photography is prohibited in the theater and exhibit areas.
- Food, chewing gum, and beverages are prohibited in the theater and exhibit areas.
- All group members must enter the Museum at the group's scheduled arrival time. The Museum is not responsible for reuniting late arrivals with their groups.
- Students and Youth groups are required to break into groups of 10, with one chaperone assigned per group.
- Unchaperoned or misbehaved Students or Youth who cause or risk damage to the Museum or disturb other visitors will be escorted out of the Museum and the group may not be allowed admission in the future.