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December 14, 2006

National Archives Announces Major Venue in New York City

Display of Original New York Ratification of the U.S. Bill of Rights Opens December 14 at Federal Hall National Memorial

New York, NY…The National Archives announced plans today for a major presence at historic Federal Hall National Memorial, operated by the National Park Service. Archivist of the United States Allen Weinstein was joined by Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), to talk about the National Archives sharing its rich documentary treasures with the tens of thousands of visitors to Federal Hall, which was the first capital of the United States. Deputy Secretary of Interior Lynn Scarlett officially welcomed the National Archives as a partner at Federal Hall.

At today’s ceremony, the Archivist unveiled the original New York Ratification of the U.S. Bill of Rights, signed on March 27, 1790, that will be on display at Federal Hall through Sunday, December 17, 2006. This exhibition marks the first time that the ratification document has been publicly displayed since it was signed, according to records at the National Archives. The document is among the billions of Federal records the National Archives holds in trust for the American people.

In his remarks, Professor Weinstein said, "The National Archives is committed to increasing civic literacy in the United States. We are fulfilling our promise, in part, by bringing one of our nation’s treasures back to New York City where it was signed more than 216 years ago. Today, at Federal Hall, we are also opening a preview exhibit entitled ‘New York: An American Capital.’ This exhibition showcases documents that shaped the character of New York and the United States as a whole. Our long-range plan is to work with the Foundation for the National Archives and our new partner, the National Park Service, to create a permanent National Archives interactive exhibit at Federal Hall to engage all Americans in learning about and appreciating our history."

Professor Weinstein described the "beautiful and historic building as the perfect venue for the National Archives presence in New York City. George Washington took the oath of office as the First President of the United States and James Madison drafted the Bill of Rights on the Federal Hall site. It was also the first home of the Supreme Court, the offices of the executive branch and the U. S. Congress. We are grateful to the National Park Service for inviting us to partner with them at this site."

"It is with great excitement and pride that I welcome the National Archives to Federal Hall," said Congressman Nadler. "Lower Manhattan, of course, for the last century has been known as the financial power center, but I am delighted that this district is also becoming a major cultural force as well. The presence of the National Archives will be an enormous boost to this effort. I want to thank Allen Weinstein for bringing one of our historical treasures, the New York Ratification of the Bill of Rights, back to New York City for this special display and we look forward to future exhibitions and programs here."

"It is very fitting that one of our nation's most historic and meaningful buildings will host some of our nation's most historic and meaningful artifacts," observed Congresswoman Maloney. "The National Archives presence at Federal Hall will help show the importance of our City to our nation's political and governmental history. I applaud the National Park Service and the National Archives on this partnership."

The National Park Service recently completed a two-year $16 million renovation of historic Federal Hall, located at 26 Wall Street. The site is one of ten that is part of the National Parks of New York Harbor, a collaboration among National Parks in the New York-New Jersey metropolitan area. The Conservancy of National Parks of New York Harbor, the National Park Service’s primary non-profit partner in New York City, assisted in arranging the relationship between the National Archives and the National Park Service.

About the National Archives

The National Archives and Records Administration is a Federal agency that serves American democracy by safeguarding and preserving the records of our government, ensuring that the people can discover, use, and learn from this documentary heritage. It supports democracy, promotes civic education, and facilitates historical understanding of our national experience. Every subject relating to American history is covered in the nine billion pages, the millions of photographs, maps and electronic records and the thousands of motion pictures and audio recordings that are available to the public at the National Archives nationwide. The National Archives maintains 13 regional archives and 11 Presidential libraries nationwide. Among the regional archives is a research facility in Manhattan at 201 Varick Street. Its holdings consist of Federal records from New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands and microfilm materials relating to genealogical research.

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For press information or images of the New York Ratification document, contact the National Archives Public Affairs staff at 202-357-5300, or Giuliana Bullard at 703-532-1477.

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