Washington, DC Area

September 2016

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Washington, DC, Area Events

Program Highlights

  • Virtual Genealogy Fair
    Learn how to use Federal records in your family history research with live sessions streamed over the Internet. ( September 3 & 4)
  • 7th Annual Charles Guggenheim Tribute Program
    In commemoration of its 10th anniversary, we will show Charles Guggenheim’s final film, Berga: Soldiers of Another War.( September 26)
  • 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington
    Author Kitty Kelley and  journalist Soledad O’Brien discuss Stanley Tretick’s photos of the march. ( September 12)
  • Constitution Day
    Law professor Garrett Epps provides a way to listen to the language of the Constitution ( September 16); explore common perceptions of U.S. constitutional law, featuring audience polling and a panel of experts led by Akhil Reed Amar ( September 17); David Robertson discusses What the Constitution’s Framers Were Really Thinking ( September 19).
  • Noontime Lectures
    Hear the authors of Simpler: The Future of Government ( September 9); Six Months in 1945: FDR, Stalin, Churchill, and Truman ( September 11); and The Original Compromise: What the Constitution’s Framers Were Really Thinking ( September 19).
  • Know Your Records
    Get started with the Introduction to Genealogy workshop ( September 4); learn how to navigate Archives.gov (September 11, 19, and 25); discover “reverse genealogy” ( September 12); learn about FOIA and Privacy Act issues (September 17 and 19); go “Beyond the Basics” to learn about Gold Star mothers ( September 18); hear about research in petitions sent to the U.S. House and Senate ( September 19); learn new census search strategies ( September 21); make an appointment for genealogy research with “Help, I’m Stuck!” ( September 21); and hear about research on Congress and the controversial marketing of generic drugs ( September 30).

 

Locations, Hours, and Contact Information

All events listed in the calendar are free unless noted; reservations are not required unless noted. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. For McGowan Theater programs, the doors to the building will open 30 minutes prior to the start of the program. Use the Special Events entrance on Constitution Avenue.

Current Exhibitions

 

September 3 & 4, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Virtual Genealogy Fair!

This two-day online program will showcase Federal records as resources for family history research. During the live streaming sessions over the Internet, researchers can watch and ask questions of the presenters and staff. After the event, recorded sessions will remain online.

Wednesday, September 4, at 11 a.m.
Room G-25, Research Center ( Penn. Ave. Entrance)
Introduction to Genealogy at the National Archives

Learn how to do basic genealogical research using Federal records at the National Archives. Lectures take place on the first Wednesday of the month

Monday, September 9, at noon
William G. McGowan Theater
Simpler: The Future of Government

Simpler government means issuing fewer regulations, insisting on smarter regulations, and eliminating or improving old regulations. As Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Cass Sunstein helped President Obama undertake the most important reform of our regulatory system by making regulations simpler and easier to understand. A book signing will follow the program. Watch live online at www.ustream.tv/usnationalarchives.

Wednesday, September 11, 9:30–11 a.m.
Library ( Penn. Ave. Entrance)
Genealogy Workshop: Using National Archives Online Resources

Discover how to navigate Archives.gov for genealogy research during this hands-on computer workshop. Register for one of the two sessions via e-mail to nancy.wing@nara.gov or call 202-357-5018. Registration required.

Wednesday, September 25, 9:30–11 a.m. Repeated in Room G-25, Research Center.

Wednesday, September 11, at noon
William G. McGowan Theater
Six Months in 1945: FDR, Stalin, Churchill, and Truman

When Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin met in Yalta in February 1945, victory was imminent. The Big Three wanted to draft a blueprint for a lasting peace—but instead they set the stage for a 44- year division of Europe into Soviet and Western spheres of influence. Author and journalist Michael Dobbs captures this historical turning point while illuminating the aims and personalities of political giants. A book signing will follow the program. Watch live online at www.ustream.tv/usnationalarchives.

Thursday, September 12, at 10 a.m.
Room G-25, Research Center ( Penn. Ave. Entrance)
Reverse Genealogy—An Irish Case Study

Mike Feerick, Chairman of Ireland Reaching Out, discusses how the reverse genealogy program helps trace and locate all the people who left Ireland and invites them to become part of a new extended Irish society.

Thursday, September 12, at 7 p.m.
William G. McGowan Theater
Let Freedom Ring: Stanley Tretick’s Iconic Images of the March on Washington

On August 28, 1963, despite searing heat, over 250,000 people from all corners of the country marched on our nation’s capital. In the shadow of the Washington Monument, all the marchers shared the same dream: equality for the nearly 20 million African Americans living in the United States. This moment in time is recorded by Stanley Tretick’s never-before-published photos of that day, now released in a new book accompanied by author Kitty Kelley’s poignant text. Joining Kitty Kelley on stage will be journalist Soledad O’Brien and Marian Wright Edelman, President of the Children's Defense Fund and March on Washington participant. The program will include photos projected on screen and vocal performances by Garrick Jordan. A book signing will follow the program. Presented in partnership with the Children's Defense Fund. Watch live online at www.ustream.tv/usnationalarchives.

Programming for the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington is made possible by partnership with the Foundation for the National Archives and the generous support of Texas Instruments.

Monday, September 16, at noon
William G. McGowan Theater
American Epic: Reading the U.S. Constitution

Despite the time spent debating what the Constitution means, few people actually read it. To read the Constitution is to realize that it has no clear, definite, single meaning. Some ideas in the document are contradictory; some are profound; some are repulsive; and some parts don't fit together at all. Law professor Garrett Epps discusses his book American Epic and provides a way for us to listen to the language of the Constitution and ponder its meaning. A book signing will follow the program. Watch live online at www.ustream.tv/usnationalarchives.

Tuesday, September 17, at 11 a.m.
Room G-25, Research Center ( Penn. Ave. Entrance)
Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and Privacy Act

Joseph Scanlon, the National Archives FOIA and Privacy Officer, will discuss FOIA and Privacy Act issues and give information and advice on access.

Thursday, September 19, at 11 a.m. Repeated at College Park, MD, Lecture Room B

Tuesday, September 17, at 7:30 p.m.
William G. McGowan Theater
Constitution Day
The State of the Constitution: What Americans Really Know

Celebrate the 226th anniversary of the U.S. Constitution by testing your knowledge of America’s greatest founding document. In partnership with the Robert H. Smith Center for the Constitution at James Madison's Montpelier, our program will feature real-time audience polling as we explore common perceptions (and misconceptions) of U.S. constitutional law. The evening will feature a panel with Akhil Reed Amar, Sterling Professor of Law and Political Science at Yale College and Yale Law School; Amy Jean Klobuchar, senior United States Senator from Minnesota; and Edwin Meese III, attorney, law professor, and author. Watch live online at www.ustream.tv/usnationalarchives.

Wednesday, September 18, at 11 a.m.
Room G-25, Research Center ( Penn. Ave. Entrance)
“Beyond the Basics” Genealogy: Gold Star Mothers

Increase your archival research skills at the National Archives with a lecture on Gold Star mothers by archivist Constance Potter (all skill levels welcome).

Thursday, September 19, at 11 a.m.
Room G-25, Research Center ( Penn. Ave. Entrance)
Genealogy Lecture: Using National Archives Online Resources

Learn how to navigate Archives.gov for genealogy research during this one-hour lecture with an archives specialist on the third Thursday of the month. No registration required.

Thursday, September 19, at noon
William G. McGowan Theater
The Original Compromise: What the Constitution’s Framers Were Really Thinking

Despite the many changes in America since its founding, one important document has endured. The Constitution, adopted in 1787, continues to dictate the government's structure and guarantee the rights of citizens. In The Original Compromise, David Robertson unravels the highly political dynamics that shaped the document that politicians continue to debate today. A book signing follows the program. Watch live online at www.ustream.tv/usnationalarchives.

Thursday, September 19, at 12:30 p.m.
Room G-25, Research Center ( Penn. Ave. Entrance)
Anti-Tax Petitions from the Civil War to the New Deal

Romain Huet, associate professor at the University of Lyon (France), discusses his research in petitions sent to the U.S. House and Senate and his forthcoming book A Republic Without Taxpayers? Watch live online at www.ustream.tv/usnationalarchives.

Saturday, September 21, at 10 a.m.
Room G-25, Research Center ( Penn. Ave. Entrance)
“Beyond the Basics”: Census Search Strategies

Claire Kluskens, archivist, teaches “beyond the basic” archival research skills for genealogists on the third Saturday of the month. This month’s topic is census search strategies.

Saturday, September 21, noon–4 p.m.
Room G-25, Research Center ( Penn. Ave. Entrance)
“Help! I'm Stuck” Genealogy Consultation

Not sure where to begin? Has a genealogical problem stumped you? An archivist is available from noon to 4 p.m. to answer your questions. Sign up for a 20-minute appointment at the Microfilm Research desk on Saturday.

Thursday, September 26 at 7 p.m.
William G. McGowan Theater
7th Annual Charles Guggenheim Tribute Program

In 2003, Charles Guggenheim’s final film, Berga: Soldiers of Another War, first aired on public television. In commemoration of the 10th anniversary, we will screen this extraordinary story of 350 American soldiers, taken prisoner at the Battle of the Bulge, who were caught in the tragedy of the Holocaust. Guggenheim wrote, directed, and narrated Berga. Roger Cohen, writer for the New York Times and author of Soldiers and Slaves: American POWs Trapped by the Nazis’ Final Gamble, will introduce the screening. A book signing will follow the program.

Monday, September 30, at noon
Room G-25, Research Center ( Penn. Ave. Entrance)
The Political Life of Generic Drugs: Congressional Inquiries into Pharmaceutical Marketing

Jeremy Greene, associate professor at the Institute of the History of Medicine at Johns Hopkins University, discusses his research on Congress and the controversial marketing of generic drugs.

Boeing Learning Center

An exciting space designed to provide parents and educators of all levels with methods and materials for teaching with primary source documents. Open Monday–Saturday, 10 a.m.–4 p.m.

Learn more about Education programs at the National Archives.

Exhibitions

Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom

  • Declaration of Independence
  • Constitution
  • Bill of Rights

The Charters of Freedom: Our Nation’s Founding Documents” takes a fresh look at the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. Using historical documents from the holdings of the National Archives, we answer two key questions about the Charters: “How did they happen?” and “Why are they important?” This Rotunda exhibit also touches on the roles played by women and slaves in the Revolutionary War. Don’t miss the remarkable story of Elizabeth Burgin’s heroic role in a successful plot to free soldiers from British prison ships.

The Public Vaults” invites visitors into virtual stack areas to discover historic documents, films, maps, and photographs from the National Archives. In interactive displays, visitors may hear Presidents discuss some of the country’s greatest challenges, step into the boots of soldiers on the front lines, or follow an investigation of the sinking of the Titanic.

Beginning July 12, there will be a special display celebrating the centennial of President Gerald Ford. During his Presidency, in spite of Cold War tensions, the U.S. and the Soviet Union conducted the joint Apollo-Soyuz mission, a dramatic in-orbit linking of two spacecraft. Presidential materials documenting this historic endeavor will be on view through January 6, 2014.

A rare print on parchment of the Declaration of Independence—made from the original copperplate engraved by William J. Stone in 1823—is on display for a limited time. Courtesy of David M. Rubenstein.

This year’s featured adventurer in "Polar Exploration" is explorer Robert E. Peary, who made two unsuccessful attempts before finally claiming to reach the Pole in 1909.

Magna Carta Display Moving to New Home September 18
The 1297 Magna Carta will be on view through September 18. It will then be back on display November 8, 2013 in the new "Records of Rights" exhibit. The 1297 Magna Carta is on loan to the National Archives from David M. Rubenstein. West Rotunda Gallery


Special Exhibition in Washington, DC

Last chance to see “Searching for the Seventies”
Bad fashion, odd fads, and disco dance music sum up the 1970s for many Americans. We contrast those years to the politically committed 1960s and economically booming 1980s. But the1970s were much more than leisure suits, streaking, and disco. During the seventies, profound changes took root in our politics, society, environment, and economy.

Take a new look at the decade through the lens of a Federal photography project called Project DOCUMERICA. Created by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 1971, DOCUMERICA was born out of the decade’s environmental awakening. The photographers hired by the EPA took thousands of color photographs depicting pollution, waste, and blight, but they were given the freedom to also capture the era’s trends, fashions, and cultural shifts. Through September 8, 2013 , Lawrence F. O'Brien Gallery


Featured Documents on Display in Washington, DC

Commodore Oliver Perry’s Report on surrender of the British on Lake Erie
In commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Lake Erie in the War of 1812, the National Archives will display the original letter from Commodore Oliver Perry to the Secretary of the Navy describing the surrender of the British on Lake Erie. September 10 through 19, East Rotunda Gallery

Siamese-American Treaty of Amity and Commerce
The start of official diplomacy between the United States of America and the Kingdom of Siam (now Thailand) was marked by the signing of the Treaty of Amity and Commerce in 1833. This treaty, the first between the United States and an Asian nation, will be on view for a limited time. September 20 through 30, 2013, East Rotunda Gallery

50th Anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom
In commemoration of the march’s 50th anniversary, we display an iconic photograph from the records of the U. S. Information Agency and tell the story of the recently discovered identity of the young marcher pictured. August 20 through September 9, East Rotunda Gallery


Special Exhibition in College Park, Maryland

Auditorium Lobby at the National Archives Research Center:

"The Long View" features digitally produced facsimiles of historic panoramic photographs from the Still Picture holdings.

The exhibit not only showcases the wide variety of panoramic techniques, but also includes National Archives records such as cartographic maps and patent drawings that relate to the photographs. Thirty-four panoramas and other records are on display and span the period from 1864 to 1997.
See more panoramas online


Traveling Exhibits

The traveling exhibit program makes it possible for people across the country to experience selected historical documents and artifacts that reflect our national experience.

" Discovering the Civil War" is on display at the Tennessee State Museum through September 2.

" School House to White House" will be on display at the National Archives at Atlanta from April 29 to September 28.


Online Exhibits

Dozens of exhibits can be experienced online. Visit Now!

To the Brink: JFK and the Cuban Missile Crisis
An exhibit marking the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis..

What's Cooking Uncle Sam? logo “What’s Cooking, Uncle Sam?”
Unearth the stories and personalities behind the increasingly complex programs and legislation that affect what we eat. Learn about the Government’s extraordinary efforts, successes, and failures to change our eating habits. Find out why the Government wanted us to “Eat the Carp,” “Share the Meat,” and “Know Our Onions.” There are over 100 original records in the exhibit—including folk songs, war posters, educational films, and even seed packets. From Revolutionary War rations to Cold War cultural exchanges, discover the multiple ways that food has occupied the hearts and minds of Americans and their Government.
Online exhibit

Discovering the Civil War ExhibitDiscovering the Civil War
Unlock secrets, solve mysteries, and uncover unexpected events in this most extensive display ever assembled from the incomparable Civil War holdings of the National Archives.
Online exhibit

child with coal dust on face Eyewitness:  American Originals from the National Archives
Drawing on rarely displayed documents, audio recordings, and film footage culled from the extensive holdings of the National Archives and its Presidential libraries, "Eyewitness" features first-person accounts of watershed moments in history. Online exhibit


Locations, Hours, and Contact Information

The National Archives Experience
Constitution Avenue between 7th and 9th Streets, NW, Washington, DC

For details, see the Visitor's Map or visit the National Archives Experience.

Exhibit Hours:

  • 10 a.m.–5:30 p.m.
  • Last admission is at 5 p.m.
  • Open every day except Thanksgiving and December 25.

Admission free.

All events listed in the calendar are free unless noted; reservations are not required unless noted. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. For McGowan Theater programs, the doors to the building will open 30 minutes prior to the start of the program. Use the Special Events entrance on Constitution Avenue.

For details, see the Visitor's Map or visit the National Archives Experience.

For reservations or to be placed on the mailing list, call 202-357-5000, or toll free at 1-877-874-7616, or e-mail public.program@nara.gov.

Museum Visit Reservations: To make reservations to visit the museum, especially during the height of the tourist season and holiday periods use online reservations. As of March 15, 2013, the last reservation slot is 4:30 p.m. If you have a reservation for later than 4:30 p.m., you will have to reschedule the visit.


The National Archives Research Center
700 Penn. Ave., NW, Washington, DC and 8601 Adelphi Road, College Park, MD.

Research Hours for both locations:

  • Monday - Saturday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
  • Closed on Federal holidays. National Archives research rooms will be closed on Monday, September 2, for Labor Day.

Check the Washington, DC and College Park, MD location information for records pull times and other important details.

Call 202-357-5450 for a docent-led guided tour.

wheelchair icon TDD: 301-837-0482. The National Archives is fully accessible. To request an accommodation (such as a sign language interpreter) for a public program, please call 202-357-5000, or toll free at 1-877-874-7616, or e-mail public.program@nara.gov at least two weeks prior to the event.

 

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