Press/Journalists

Press Release
July 25, 2006

National Archives Announces Changes in Hours

Washington, DC…An interim final rule published in the Federal Register today would amend the hours at the National Archives Building in Washington, DC, and at the National Archives facility in College Park, MD. The new hours would affect both the museum side of the National Archives Building and the research side of both facilities. This rule will be open for public comment for 45 days and, if adopted, would become effective October 2, 2006.

Comments may be forwarded via www.regulations.gov no later than September 8, 2006. A public meeting will be held on August 3, 2006, at 1 p.m. in the Jefferson Room of the National Archives Building (use the special events entrance on Constitution Avenue and 7th Street, NW). Reservations are not required for the public meeting, but space may be limited.

Highlights of the interim final rule include:

For research, the Washington, DC, area facilities would be open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, and would no longer have evening or Saturday hours.

The new hours of operation for the museum side of the National Archives Building would be 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. during the spring and summer (March 15 through Labor Day). Fall and winter hours (the day after Labor Day through March 14) would remain unchanged: 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. These changes affect (except for special events) the Rotunda, the Public Vaults, the O’Brien Gallery, the Archives Shop, and the McGowan Theater, when it reopens.

The museum would close on Thanksgiving Day in addition to December 25.

The National Archives regional archives around the country would continue to operate during core hours, but would modify their extended hours, effective October 2. For more information, go to the Regional Archives page on the NARA web site.

Research room usage during calendar 2005 showed that an average of only 16 percent of all researchers at the two Washington, DC, area facilities used the reading rooms in the evening, including those who had been there during the day and stayed on. Moreover, an average of only seven percent of the researchers used the facilities on Saturdays.

In the exhibit and museum areas at the National Archives Building, the new hours of operation would affect only the smallest number of visitors to the Rotunda and National Archives Experience. Although the National Archives will close two hours earlier in the summer, data reveals that the last two hours of the day in the summer have, on a regular basis, the lowest attendance. Even by closing two hours earlier in the summer, the museum and exhibit areas will still be open as late as, or later than, the other museums on the National Mall.

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For press information, contact the National Archives Public Affairs staff at 202-357-5300.

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