August 10, 1998
National Archives Announces New Digital Classroom Unit: Building an Archives
Washington, DC . . .The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) announces a new Digital Classroom unit on its Web site. "Building an Archives" presents information and documents related to the National Archives Building in Washington, DC, the National Archives at College Park, MD, and links to all other NARA facilities across the country. This online project also offers guidelines for educators and students about establishing and maintaining a school archives.
Each year hundreds of students contact NARA with inquiries about the National Archives Building. Most are creating architectural models or writing essays about the building as part of a school assignment prior to visiting Washington, DC. Questions also come from the more than one million visitors to the National Archives Building each year, requesting information about the building that holds the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, Bill of Rights, and other historical documents on display.
Visitors are awed by the 72 Corinthian columns, each measuring 53 feet high, 5 feet 8 inches in diameter, and weighing 95 tons. They are astounded by the two bronze doors that protect the main entrance, each weighing 6 ˝ tons and measuring 38 feet 7 inches high, almost 10 feet wide, and 11 inches thick. They are inspired by the inscriptions on the building’s exterior.
"Building an Archives" presents online visitors with a description of the original building and the state-of-the-art National Archives at College Park, MD, including numerous photographs, information, and links to the other National Archives facilities across the country. A history of the original building with digitized images of significant documents, and a section listing little-known facts about the building designed by John Russell Pope are provided. Details about the 1.7 million square foot facility in Maryland are also included.
In addition, guidelines for educators and students about establishing and maintaining a school archives are provided. The National Archives recognizes that schools produce rich historical records. Items including yearbooks, school lunch menus, flyers promoting dances or student elections, photographs, letters, and issues of the school newspaper document not only the history of the school, but also often reflect the history of the community, state, or nation. Developing a school archives provides a valuable service-learning opportunity for students and creates a lasting research tool and legacy from which future students and the archival community can benefit.
For additional PRESS information, please contact the National Archives Public Affairs staff at (301) 837-1700 or by e-mail.