Press/Journalists

The Public Vaults

For PRESS information and to request images, audio clips or video from the exhibition, contact the National Archives Public Affairs Staff at 202-501-5526.

 

Background Information On The National Archives Experience


"The great collection of the National Archives is one of the wonders of our country, the richest, most enthralling documentation we have as a nation of who we are, what we have achieved, our adventures, and what we stand for."
David McCullough     

When the National Archives in Washington, DC reopened its Rotunda on September 18, 2003, it unveiled not only the restored and re-encased Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights, but the start of a whole new National Archives Experience for the education and inspiration of the American public. The National Archives, with the help of the Foundation for the National Archives, is creating a dramatic and powerful project to motivate people to care more deeply about democracy, learn about their individual stories, and make use of the patriotic spirit that lives on because of records.

The National Archives Experience is in essence a journey - a journey through time and a journey through American struggles and triumphs. It has the power to teach us how our nation's past can become a living instrument for directing our nation's future. Using exciting interactive components, the National Archives Experience will ensure that each visitor will take from it an understanding of his or her own personal and profound connection to the records in the National Archives. The National Archives Experience will accomplish this through six integrated components:

  • Charters of Freedom - the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights in the National Archives Rotunda are the centerpiece of the National Archives Experience. For the first time, all four pages of the Constitution will be displayed and new cases will make the Charters more accessible for younger visitors and those using wheelchairs. In addition, a multi-language audio tool will give all visitors a more meaningful experience.
  • Public Vaults - the new permanent exhibition, creates the feeling of going into the stacks and vaults of the National Archives. In the central corridor, the Record of America will explore the transformation of records through time and technology, from the earliest Native American treaties to Presidential Web sites. The interactive experiences of the vaults will draw their themes from the Preamble to the Constitution.

    In We the People, help an elderly widow establish her identity as an American citizen or discover whether records of your family are in the Archives.

    In To Form a More Perfect Union, explore evidence and judgments from civil rights cases such as Brown v. Board of Education or cast your vote after witnessing a great debate in Congress.

    In Promote the General Welfare, be transported back to the day man first walked on the moon or uncover surprising inventions and patents from the 19th century.

    In Provide for the Common Defense, use records to create a moment of film on D-Day or stand in the shoes of the President during the Cuban Missle Crisis.

    In To Ourselves and Our Posterity, help a document become an Archives record or solve the challenge of reading electronic records in the 23rd century.

  • William G. McGowan Theater - featuring a dramatic film illustrating the relationship of records and democracy through the lives of real people. The McGowan Theatre will serve as the Capitol region's most important venue for documentary film, as well as a forum for the great issues of American government.
  • Lawrence F. O'Brien Gallery - devoted to document-based exhibits on newsworthy and timely topics and traveling exhibits from Presidential Libraries and other sources. Exhibits that open in the Gallery will travel to other venues in the U.S. and abroad.
  • Learning Center - reaching America's youth, parents and teaching professionals. The Learning Center will leverage the Archives' resources to engage and inspire children to connect to our nation's exciting history.
  • Internet - for the millions of people worldwide who cannot visit the National Archives Building, and those who want to continue exploring the Archives' resources. The Web site will recreate much of the excitement of the National Archives Experience online.

The records of the National Archives tell the stories of the American people and continually validate the American experience. They are a tangible legacy from the generations who built our nation. The National Archives Experience will inspire individuals to use the Archives to learn, to unravel, to discover and to celebrate these stories and the American spirit that is a hallmark of our great country.

Top of Page

 

Media Alert

Press "Sneak Preview" For Public Vaults Exhibition

Major Permanent Exhibition Goes "Behind-the-Scenes" at the National Archives

WHAT:
A special press "sneak preview" and breakfast to launch the major permanent "Public Vaults" exhibition. The new exhibition will give visitors the sensation of going behind-the-scenes to explore among the billions of unique documents, photographs, maps, films, recordings, and objects in the Archives' holdings. Audio and video displays, computer interactives and games will engage visitors of every age and interest. The exhibition, which is free, opens to the public on November 12.

Entering the Public Vaults is a journey of discovery:

  • Eavesdrop on President Kennedy and his advisers discussing the Cuban Missile Crisis
  • Create your own D-Day documentary
  • Investigate the Challenger disaster
  • Design your own version of the Great Seal of the United States
  • Compare the movie Glory to the real story of the Massachusetts 54th Regiment
  • Peek at home movies of former Presidents when they were children

WHO:

  • Archivist of the United States John W. Carlin
  • President of the Foundation for the National Archives Tom Wheeler
  • Director of Museum Programs and curator of the exhibition Marvin Pinkert
  • Special guest John Beaulieu, whose 6th grade letter to President Eisenhower is featured in the exhibition, will be available for interviews. Mr. Beaulieu, then a student at Perkins School for the Blind, sent a letter in Braille to "Ike" in the fall of 1956, with some suggestions for the President's campaign speeches.

WHERE: National Archives Building, Constitution Avenue at 9th St., NW. Washington DC.

WHEN: Tuesday, November 9, 2004, 9 AM - 11 AM

Top of Page

 

Special Opportunities for the Public to Unlock the National Archives New Public Vaults Exhibition

November 11 Veteran's Day Sneak Preview for Military November 12 Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

Washington, D.C. . . The National Archives will launch the major exhibition the "Public Vaults" with a "sneak preview" for veterans and active military personnel on Veteran's Day and a grand opening celebration featuring a ribbon-cutting ceremony and the participation of historical reenactors on Friday, November 12. The exhibition, which is free and open to the public, is located at the National Archives Building, Constitution Avenue at 9th Street, NW.

The "Public Vaults" will shine a light on the vast holdings of the National Archives. It will take visitors into virtual stack areas to experience the wonder and excitement of discovering the importance and relevance of federal records. Through films, maps, photographs, documents, and specially-designed interactive devices, visitors will hear Presidents discuss some of the country's greatest challenges, step into the boots of soldiers on the front lines, and follow an investigation of the sinking of the Titanic. Extraordinary and ordinary events reflecting the complex and colorful nature of our history will be highlighted in this exhibition.

Veteran's Day: Thursday, November 11, 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m.

The National Archives honors veterans, active military personnel and their families with an exclusive sneak peek of the new permanent exhibition, "The Public Vaults". In addition, the National Archives Museum Shop will offer a 10 percent discount to those being honored on that day.

One focus of the exhibition, Provide for the Common Defense, highlights the U.S. military. The power of the documents featured in this section of the exhibition is in the way they capture both individual heroism and collective sacrifice. Together with declassified records of strategy and tactics, they bring a human dimension to the tragedy of war. Visitors will be able to eavesdrop on the deliberations of Presidents as they faced some of the country's greatest challenges, explore newly declassified top secret documents, learn about the recruitment process and how it has changed over time, see Louis Armstrong's draft registration card and historic military recruitment posters, and experience many other extraordinary events of our history.

Ribbon Cutting Ceremony, November 12, 10 a.m.

Archivist of the United States, John Carlin, will cut the ribbon to officially "unlock" the "Public Vaults" and welcome visitors into the new exhibition. Historical reenactors portraying George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Eleanor Roosevelt will mingle with visitors until 3 p.m.

Two special guests, whose documents are featured in the exhibition, will be on hand to answer questions. John Beaulieu who wrote a letter in Braille to President Eisenhower will attend the opening. As a 6th grade student at Perkins School for the Blind in the fall of 1956, John participated in a mock Presidential campaign, playing the role of President Eisenhower. His assignment was to write his own campaign speech which he sent to President Eisenhower. Some weeks later, he received a reply from the President. Both John's letter and the President's reply are featured in the exhibition.

The exhibition also includes L.J. Weil's original 1943 letter (at age 12) to President Roosevelt offering to serve as a Marine mascot. He even invited Roosevelt to visit his home in Louisiana "if you get tired up there in Washington" but insisted that the President bring his own ration book. Mr. Weil will also attend the ribbon-cutting ceremony. The public is welcome to attend the event

The National Archives Experience is being made possible by a public-private partnership between the National Archives and the Foundation for the National Archives; all National Archives Experience programs are free and open to the public. National Archives Building, located on Constitution Avenue at 9th Street, NW.

Top of Page

 

National Archives' Opens Major Permanent Exhibition On November 12, 2004
"Public Vaults" Gives Visitors the Sensation of Going Behind-the-Scenes at the National Archives

Washington, DC, October 14, 2004…On Friday, November 12, the National Archives will launch the major permanent exhibition entitled the "Public Vaults" with an opening celebration featuring a ribbon-cutting ceremony and the participation of historical re-enactors. The new exhibition will give visitors the sensation of going behind-the-scenes to explore among the billions of unique documents, photographs, maps, films, recordings, and objects in the Archives' holdings. The "Public Vaults" exhibition is a key component of the National Archives Experience, a multi-year initiative that will more than triple the size of the exhibition spaces and public educational and programming facilities at the National Archives Building on Washington DC's National Mall. The National Archives Experience is being made possible by a public-private partnership between the National Archives and the Foundation for the National Archives; all National Archives Experience programs are free and open to the public.

Nearly a million people come to the National Archives every year to see the founding documents of American democracy – the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. Few realize that behind the wall where the Charters of Freedom are displayed are billions of records that trace the story of our nation and the American people. The "Public Vaults" exhibition will give visitors the sensation of walking past that wall and into the Archives' behind-the-scenes vaults and stacks. Visitors will be able to listen in on the deliberations of Presidents as they faced some of the country's greatest challenges, explore newly declassified top secret documents, step into the boots of ordinary soldiers on the front lines, follow the original investigation into the sinking of the Titanic, read a teenager's plea to keep Elvis out of the army, and experience many other of the extraordinary events of our history.

"The National Archives preserves and shares with the public the documents of our nation, from the Declaration of Independence and the Emancipation Proclamation to records that mark the lives of average Americans, from early homesteaders and civil war soldiers, to our nation's newest citizens," said Archivist John W. Carlin. "The National Archives Experience will significantly increase our ability to share with everyone the drama, struggle, and exhilaration that are reflected in these records. These records not only trace our past, they point to our future. They directly touch the lives of millions of people and reveal the evolving story of what it means to be American."

"PUBLIC VAULTS" EXHIBITION The "Public Vaults" exhibition will combine real documents from the Archives, interactive exhibits and immersive displays to explore not only well-known people and historic turning points, but also little-known events that provide surprising perspectives and insights. Following are some of the highlights of the "Public Vaults" exhibition:

  • Investigations features a new interactive computer touch-screen system, the "Archives Explorer." The exhibit includes a wall of document storage boxes that look like those in the Archives' stacks. When visitors shift a special plasma screen over a sensitized box, the records inside 'flow' onto the screen. Using the Archives Explorer, visitors can follow the path of some of the most compelling federal investigations in American history, including those of the Titanic and Challenger disasters, Watergate, the assassinations of Presidents Lincoln and Kennedy, 1950s juvenile delinquency, and inquiries into reports of UFOs.

  • Conflicts and Crisis draws upon the National Archives collection of Oval Office audio recordings to take visitors into the White House and inside the Presidential conversations that shaped world history. In the exhibit, visitors will be able to listen in on the deliberations of John F. Kennedy as he faced down the Soviet Union during the Cuban Missile Crisis, and Lyndon Johnson as he struggled with events of the Gulf of Tonkin Incident and the escalation of the Vietnam War.

  • Dear Uncle Sam offers a sampler of letters that citizens wrote to the government. Teenagers' pleas to keep Elvis out of the army, messages written by angry construction workers on 2 X 4s and sent to President Carter, and a letter from a young boy asking the President to declare his room a "disaster area" reveal a personal window onto the ongoing dialogue between the government and the people.

  • Top Secret features the computer interactive system, the "Archives Explorer," which visitors can use to delve into stories of espionage missions, read coded messages, see plans for wonder weapons, and follow war strategies that were once limited to only a handful of officials with security clearances. One of the operations included in "Top Secret" is Project Cornflakes, in which the Office of Strategic Services (the forerunner of the CIA) tried to undermine German morale by dropping anti-Nazi propaganda – in the form of fake letters – in counterfeit mailbags during air attacks on railroad stations.

  • 20 July, 1969, is the date Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong took the first step onto the moon, and this exhibit enables visitors to explore both the lunar and earth-bound moments of that day. A mock-up of NASA's mission control room immerses visitors in the tension and excitement of the 'giant leap for mankind.' The log book for the aircraft carrier USS Hornet chronicles the preparations to recover the Apollo 11 astronauts and their spacecraft after splashdown in the Pacific Ocean. President Nixon's Daily Diary notes that he "held an interplanetary conversation with Apollo 11 astronauts, Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin on the Moon." A report from South Vietnam by the Army's 101st Airborne Division in its Daily Staff Journal describes spotting North Vietnamese soldiers destroying enemy bunkers and then stops to take note of the momentous events taking place on the moon.

The exhibition is designed by Gallagher and Associates, whose most recent Washington, DC project is the International Spy Museum. The exhibition's innovative interactive computer exhibits were created by Second Story Interactive.

THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES EXPERIENCE
The "Public Vaults" exhibition is part of The National Archives Experience, an educational initiative to create experiences that celebrate the American spirit and reveal how our nation's past is a living part of our nation's future. Visitors, in person and online, can discover and explore documents from the famous to the unexpected, and as diverse as Edison's patent application for the light bulb, photographs and records from Ellis Island, newsreels dating back to the early 1900s, evidence and judgments from civil rights cases, the real records of the soldiers who inspired the movie Glory, the first-person account of a Minuteman at Lexington, Louis Armstrong's draft card, and Albert Einstein's naturalization record.

Components of the National Archives Experience Now Open to the Public

  • The first stage of the National Archives Experience included the renovation of the National Archives' Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom and conservation of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. The renovated Rotunda and the Charters of Freedom opened to the public on September 18, 2003.

  • The William G. McGowan Theater, which opened on September 10, 2004, will be the region's leading center for documentary film and an important forum for public programs with the nation's leading authors, researchers, and filmmakers. Free daily screenings in the McGowan Theater serve as an introduction to the National Archives Experience. The current film offering, Preserving the Charters of Freedom developed by Middlemarch Films for NOVA/WGBH and PBS tells the story of the delicate and complex conservation of the Charters of Freedom and their re-installation in new state-of-the-art cases. In spring, the National Archives will premiere a dramatic film illustrating the vital role that records play in the lives and experiences of real people.

Components of the National Archives Experience Opening to the Public in 2004 and 2005

In addition to the "Public Vaults" exhibition opening November 12, 2004, future components of the National Archives Experience include the following:

  • The Lawrence F. O'Brien Gallery, to be formally dedicated on December 6, 2004, will feature exhibitions that draw on the holdings of the National Archives to explore newsworthy and timely topics, themes, issues, events, and turning points in our nation's history. The inaugural exhibition in the O'Brien Gallery will be The American Presidency: Photographic Treasures of the National Archives, presented by U.S. News & World Report. The exhibition will showcase more than forty images that give a behind-the-scenes look at the political and private lives of Presidents over the last 150 years.

  • A New Learning Center, opening in 2005, will offer in-depth educational programs for middle and high school students, workshops and materials geared to the needs of parents and teachers, and distance learning initiatives that will enable young people across the country to participate in the Archives' educational programs. The Center will also be accessible to all visitors who wish to learn more about the National Archives and its unique holdings.

  • New Website Interactives, to go online in 2006, will enable people across the country and around the world to experience the innovative interactive computer programs featured in the "Public Vaults" exhibition. The National Archives website, www.archives.gov, already receives more than 30 million visits a year.

SUPPORTERS OF THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES EXPERIENCE
Leadership gifts in support of the National Archives Experience have been made to the Foundation for the National Archives by the William G. McGowan Charitable Fund, Inc. and by Lawrence O'Brien III, his mother Elva O'Brien, and the O'Brien Family in memory of Lawrence F. O'Brien. In recognition of the McGowan Charitable Fund's generous gift, the National Archives has named its new 290-seat theater in his honor. The National Archives' new expanded special exhibition gallery is named in honor of Lawrence F. O'Brien, an influential figure in the nation's political and governmental history, who served in both the Kennedy and Johnson administrations

Major contributions of $1 million each in support of the "Public Vaults" have been given by two individual donors: real estate developer Willard Hackerman, a dedicated philanthropist and supporter of initiatives that foster scholarship and research; and urban planning and transportation innovator Alan M. Voorhees, who is a long-time benefactor of numerous cultural institutions and libraries. Dell Computer Corporation has both provided the equipment for the "Public Vaults" interactives and is contributing significant technical support for the ongoing maintenance of the hardware in the exhibition.

Additional support includes a $1 million leadership gift from AT&T, one of the first benefactors and advocates for the National Archives Experience. Major funding has also been provided by The Pew Charitable Trusts. Funds to support the restoration of the historic murals in the Archives' Rotunda were given by Save America's Treasures through a partnership between the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Park Service, Department of the Interior. Additional noteworthy gifts have been provided by the following individuals, corporations, and private foundations: Chevy Chase Bank, The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the John & Lisa Pritzker Family Fund, Jeanette Cantrell Rudy, and Al and Lila Self.

ABOUT THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES AND RECORDS ADMINISTRATION
The National Archives and Records Administration, an independent federal agency, is the nation's record keeper. Founded in 1934, its mission is unique – to ensure for the public and the President, the Congress, and the Courts, ready access to essential evidence. It enables people to inspect the record of what government has done. It enables officials and agencies to review their actions and helps citizens hold them accountable. It ensures continuing access to records that document the rights of American citizens, the actions of federal officials, and the national experience. The National Archives meets a wide range of information needs, among them helping people to trace their families' history, making it possible for veterans to prove their entitlement to medical care and other benefits, allowing congressional oversight committees to evaluate agencies, and preserving original White House records. The National Archives carries out its mission through a nationwide network of archives, records centers, and Presidential Libraries, and on the Internet at www.archives.gov.

ABOUT THE FOUNDATION FOR THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES
The Foundation for the National Archives is a non-profit organization committed to creating public awareness of the importance of the National Archives as a cultural resource in the American democracy a place where historians, seekers of justice, and private citizens can find evidence on which truth is based. The Foundation was created in 1992 to support the Archivist of the United States in developing programs, technology, projects, and materials that introduce and interpret the Archives' collection for the American people and for people around the world. The National Archives Experience is made possible by a public/private partnership between the National Archives and Records Administration and the Foundation for the National Archives, which is working as the private sector partner to support the creation of these new programs and resources. The Foundation is generating financial and creative support from individuals and corporations to provide this extensive outreach, which has not been mandated by Congress.

The National Archives is located on Constitution Avenue, between 7th and 9th Streets, NW. Fall/Winter hours are 10 A.M.-5:30 P.M.

Top of Page

 

National Archives Salutes Veterans and Active Military Personnel
Sneak Preview of New Exhibition on Veterans Day

Washington, D.C. . . On Thursday, November 11, the National Archives honors veterans, active military personnel and their families with an exclusive sneak peek of the new permanent exhibition, "The Public Vaults." The exhibition opens to the public on November 12 at the National Archives Building, located on Constitution Avenue at 9th Street, NW. The exhibition, which is a public-private partnership between the National Archives and the Foundation for the National Archives, will welcome all military personnel and their families to the free exhibition between 10 AM and 5:30 PM. In addition, the National Archives Museum Shop will offer a 10 percent discount to those being honored on that day.

In announcing the special preview, Archivist of the United States John W. Carlin said, "The records of active military personnel and veterans are such a key part of our holdings and are a highlight in this exhibition. We want to honor those who have served this country by welcoming them as our first visitors to 'The Public Vaults'".

The National Archives takes special pride in its role in protecting the records of those who have protected our nation. It holds both individual service records and unit records stretching from the American Revolution to the Gulf War, covering all branches of the military service. Near the entrance to the exhibition, the National Archives will have experts and information available regarding veterans' records from the National Archives' National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, Missouri. The National Personnel Records Center responds to approximately 4,000 requests pertaining to military records each day, totaling more than one million requests each year. The best way for a veteran or family member to request records is the online application form on the NARA web site, vetrecs.archives.gov.

The new permanent exhibition, "The Public Vaults", will shine a light into the vaults and stack areas where the treasures of the National Archives are preserved for the American people. One major focus of the exhibition, Provide for the Common Defense, highlights the US military. The power of these documents is in the way they capture both individual heroism and collective sacrifice. Together with declassified records of strategy and tactics, they bring a human dimension to the tragedy of war.

Visitors will be able to listen in on the deliberations of Presidents as they faced some of the country's greatest challenges, explore newly declassified top secret documents, step into the boots of soldiers on the front lines of World War II, learn about the recruitment process and how it has changed over time, see Louis Armstrong's draft registration card and historic military recruitment posters, and experience many other of the extraordinary events of our history.

The "Public Vaults" combines two elements:

  • The Record of America, a timeline, that takes visitors on a journey through time and the changing technology of communications;
  • Five "vaults" based on the Preamble to the Constitution: We the People; Form a More Perfect Union; Promote the General Welfare; Provide for the Common Defense; and To Ourselves and Our Posterity. Each of these five vaults combines real documents, interactive exhibits, and immersive displays to open America's records to the public.

THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES EXPERIENCE
The "Public Vaults" exhibition is part of The National Archives Experience, an educational initiative to create experiences that celebrate the American spirit and reveal how our nation's past is a living part of our nation's future.

Other Components of the National Archives Experience

National Archives Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom which includes the permanent display of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights and "The New World is at Hand", an exhibition highlighting the creation and the impact of the Charters. The renovated Rotunda and the Charters of Freedom opened to the public on September 18, 2003.

The Lawrence F. O'Brien Gallery features special exhibitions developed by the National Archives and traveling exhibitions from the Presidential libraries and other organizations. "The American Presidency: Photographic Treasures of the National Archives" opens to the public on December 7, 2004.

The William G. McGowan Theater opened in September 2004. It features continuous showings of "Preserving the Charters of Freedom," a dramatic film that chronicles the behind-the-scenes preservation of the Charters of Freedom, produced by Middlemarch Films for NOVA/WGBH and PBS. The Theater also hosts a wide range of documentary film series and programs with the nation's leading authors, as well as family programs, historic reenactments, and community activities.

A New Learning Center will open in 2005 that will offer in-depth education programs for middle and high school students as well as workshops geared to the needs of parents and teachers. The Center will include a Learning Lab, Resource Room, Digital Classroom, and National Teacher's program.

An Expanded Website will bring the National Archives to all Americans as well as people from around the globe. This comprehensive website will serve as a gateway to the vast and rich records of the National Archives. Selected computer interactive elements from the 'Public Vaults' exhibition will also be included on the site, as well as materials for teachers and students.

Top of Page

 

Major Permanent Exhibition Features Individuals and Events from all 50 States

Washington, DC… In a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday, November 12, 2004, Archivist of the United States John W. Carlin will open the new National Archives permanent exhibition, entitled the "Public Vaults." This exhibition, which is a public-private partnership between the National Archives and the Foundation for the National Archives, is free and open to the public. The National Archives Building is located on Constitution Avenue at 7th Street, NW, facing the National Mall.

"The "Public Vaults" shines a light on the vast regional holdings of the National Archives. Visitors from every state in the nation will experience the wonder and excitement of discovering the importance and relevance of their very own federal records. Visitors will read children's letters to government officials from a young boy in New Iberia, Louisiana who offers President Roosevelt his service as a Marine mascot, to the letter from three girls from Noxon, Montana who beg President Eisenhower to spare Elvis a GI buzz cut.

There is truly "something for everyone" here. The exhibition includes photos of Native Americans from Nebraska and Idaho, enlistment papers of a Buffalo soldier in Kentucky, Davy Crockett's Tennessee election credentials, and Maria Von Trapp's 1944 Declaration of Intention, filed in Burlington, Vermont. Also included are historic photographs of the United States from the 1909 Peary sledge party at the North Pole, to a photo of Pearl Harbor in January, 1941. Visitors can view the United States from sea to shining sea 1940s and 1950s aerial photography of the Golden Gate Bridge and Cape Hatteras, as well as the Grand Canyon, Cape Canaveral, Mount Rushmore, Mount St. Helen's, New Orleans, Las Vegas and more.

Reporters should contact the press office to request a special packet of visuals customized to their region, state or city. The press office can also provide names, documents, photos, stories and contact information for individuals featured in the exhibition from different areas of the country. Please contact the National Archives Public Affairs Staff at 202-501-5526, public.affairs@nara.gov .

Top of Page

 

Highlights of the Public Vaults

Journey into a world where no visitor has gone before. Immerse yourself in the National Archives stacks and discover little known treasures in the new "Public Vaults" exhibition, including:

Original documents:

  • The first law passed by the U.S. Congress mandating that all government employees take an oath, June 1, 1789
  • Homestead application by Laura Ingalls Wilder's future husband for his Little House on the Prairie, 1884
  • Patent for the first calculating machine that recorded and printed its results, 1888
  • A 1912 audio recording of a campaign speech by President Theodore Roosevelt
  • An architectural drawing of Alcatraz, showing the prison hospital, 1940

Interactive elements:

  • Create your own D-Day documentary film from original footage
  • Eavesdrop on Presidents Franklin Roosevelt's, Dwight Eisenhower's, John Kennedy's, Lyndon Johnson's, and Richard Nixon's White House conversations
  • Discover little-known information on newly freed slaves, ca. 1865-1870
  • Investigate:
    • the assassinations of Presidents Lincoln and Kennedy
    • the Watergate burglary and cover-up
    • the Air Force's files on UFOs, 1952

Top of Page

Press/Journalists >

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

.