Press/Journalists

Press Release
July 14, 2006

National Archives Building in Washington, DC, Reopens

Washington, DC…Archivist of the United States Allen Weinstein announced the reopening of the Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom at the National Archives building on Saturday, July 15, 2006, after a three week closure due to flood damage. The National Archives building is located on Constitution Avenue between 7th and 9th Streets, NW, Washington, DC.

The Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom (the Charters of Freedom are the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights), the Public Vaults exhibition, and the new Eyewitness: American Originals from the National Archives exhibition, will reopen on Saturday, July 15, 2006. Exhibit hours are 10 a.m. until 9 p.m., daily. The building will reopen for research on Wednesday, July 19, 2006, in a limited capacity. Research hours are from 8:45 a.m. until 5:00 p.m., Monday-Friday, there will be no evening or Saturday research hours.

“Much like the history of this nation, we are a success story,” said Professor Weinstein. “The staff of the National Archives has worked literally around the clock for three weeks to make this day possible. While we apologize to visitors who have been inconvenienced and disappointed, we celebrate tomorrow’s reopening, and hope that you will join us.”

On the evening of June 25, 2006, record-breaking rainfall in the Washington, DC area flooded Constitution Avenue. The water flooded the National Archives building’s transformer vaults and sub-basement areas, including the William G. McGowan Theater, causing significant damage. No original records were affected by the flood. Emergency crews immediately began recovery efforts working 24 hours a day, removing the standing water by the morning of June 27, installing industrial dehumidifiers to remove moisture, and then repairing primary electrical feeds and switchgear to the building. Presently, all critical building systems are operational although some are operating at reduced capacity.

Due to extensive damage, the William G. McGowan Theater will be closed until further notice.

Current Exhibitions at the National Archives:

Eyewitness: American Originals from the National Archives
Original accounts of watershed events in American history are part of this major new exhibition in the Lawrence F. O'Brien Gallery at the National Archives. Treasures in the form of letters, diaries, photographs, and audio and film recordings, culled from the billions of documents in the holdings of the National Archives and its Presidential libraries, open new and unique windows onto well-known events. This exhibit includes a free Acoustiguide audio tour. On display through January 1, 2007.

A New World Is at Hand
The exhibition surrounds the centerpiece cases holding the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights in the Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom. The exhibition chronicles the creation of the Charters of Freedom in the 18th century, and the impact of the Charters on the course of history in the United States and around the world.

The Public Vaults
This permanent interactive exhibition – literally located behind the wall of the display of the Constitution – is organized according to the preamble to the U.S. Constitution. The Public Vaults creates the feeling of going into the stacks and vaults of the National Archives, and offers visitors a “hands on” examination of the workings of the three branches of government, as outlined in the Constitution.

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For press information, contact the National Archives Public Affairs Staff at its temporary office (301) 837-1700. Beginning Monday, July 17, 2006, the Public Affairs Staff can be reached at: (202) 357-5300.

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