May 16, 2001
National Archives Announces New Interactive Web Site
Washington, DC. . . If you weren't around to sign the Declaration of Independence in 1776, the National Archives, home of the original Declaration of Independence, is offering you another chance. Beginning June 12, log on to www.archives.gov, pick up the quill pen and sign your name. WAIT!!! Before you actually sign, you may want to think about the consequences of signing such a radical document —the 56 brave men who signed in 1776 suffered hardship, financial loss—some even had their homes destroyed. They were considered traitors and pursued by the British. To learn more about these courageous men, click the mouse on the “Signers Gallery.” To learn about the creation of the document, click on “Creating the Declaration.” Now that you know you are in good company, click on “Sign the Declaration of Independence.” You can even choose your font, so that your signature will appear like John Hancock’s—big and bold, or like Benjamin Frankin’s—smaller, but certainly as unwavering.
www.archives.gov is a terrific way to find out more about the early history of our nation. Through exciting interactive activities, on-line exhibits, and biographical information about the Founding Fathers, visitors will gain a much greater understanding of the courageous steps that these 56 men and their fellow Americans took in 1776 and beyond to form our nation. The new website also provides information about the July 4th activities at the National Archives Building on Constitution Avenue; the special “Join the Signers” programs that begin on June 12 with a David McCullough lecture on John Adams; the renovation of the National Archives Building; and the all-important project to re-encase the Charters of Freedom (the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights).
While the National Archives Rotunda is temporarily closed for renovation (July 5th 2001-2003), www.archives.gov will offer visitors a virtual tour of the Charters of Freedom. It will also offer a portal to the National Archives Home Page for researchers and visitors desiring information on National Archives holdings and policies.
For additional PRESS information, please contact the National Archives Public Affairs staff at (301) 837-1700 or by e-mail.