National Archives News

July 4th Celebration

July 4 Celebration

Join us on Tuesday, July 4, 2017, as we celebrate our nation's birthday! 

If you can't come in person to Washington, DC, join our celebration through US National Archives YouTube Channel and on the US National Archives Facebook page. Or celebrate at one of our Presidential libraries around the nation.


#TinyDeclaration

Tiny DeclarationTweet the Declaration! You have 4 days and 140 characters to compress this historic document into one tweet. We're partnering with Slate for #TinyDeclaration. The Archivist of the United States will read the winning tweet at our July 4 celebration in Washington, DC.


#ArchivesJuly4—Celebrate With Us

Share your experience on social media using the hashtag #ArchivesJuly4.


Celebrate Independence Day at the National Archives Building in Washington, DC. The museum, where you can see the original Declaration of Independence, will have EXTENDED HOURS of 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. from June 30 through July 6 (last admission at 6:30 p.m.).

This fun-for-all-ages program is free! No tickets are needed. The event is outside, and the audience sits on the steps of the building, facing Constitution Avenue.

Too hot? Indoor seating is available in the William G. McGowan Theater. Email specialevents@nara.gov

Thursday, June 29

6 p.m.

Global Spirits: American Cocktails
William G. McGowan Theater

To kick off several days of festivities celebrating July 4, eight of the top mixologists in the country will create original cocktails inspired by classic American cocktails. Tickets are $60 for Foundation members; $70 for non-members. Get more information at archivesfoundation.org/event/history-happy-hour-global-spirits-american-cocktails/Hosted by the National Archives Foundation and The Tasting Panel Magazine.

Friday, June 30 

Noon–1 p.m.

Musical performance by the United States Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps on the Constitution Avenue steps

Saturday, July 1

10 a.m.–4 p.m.

Taste American Heritage® Chocolate at the National Archives Store

1–2 p.m.

Performance by Batala Washington on the Constitution Avenue steps

Sunday, July 2

10 a.m.–4 p.m.

Taste American Heritage® Chocolate at the National Archives Store

Noon–1 p.m.

Musical performance the Singing Capital Chorus on the Constitution Avenue steps

Monday, July 3

1–2 p.m.

Frederick Douglass: The Meaning of July 4th for the Negro
William G. McGowan Theater and on US National Archives YouTube Channel
In a July 5, 1852, speech to a group of abolitionists, Frederick Douglass reminded them that for slaves and former slaves, the Declaration of Independence represented the unfulfilled promise of liberty for all. Phil Darius Wallace will give a dramatic reading of excerpts from the speech, followed by a discussion with Nathan Johnson, Supervisory Park Ranger at the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site, and Robert S. Levine, author of The Lives of Frederick Douglass. A book signing will follow the program.

5–6 p.m.

Performance by GottaSwing on Constitution Avenue steps

July 4th at the National Archives

Tuesday, July 4

8–9:30 a.m.

Special July 4 FREE T-shirt Giveaway
First 1,000 guests to join us for the Reading Ceremony will receive a special July 4th Celebration T-shirt.

9–9:45 a.m.

Live musical performance by Brass Connection on the Constitution Avenue steps

10–11 a.m.

Declaration of Independence Reading Ceremony
Constitution Avenue steps and on US National Archives YouTube Channel

  • Greetings from Allison Seymour, Fox 5 News Anchor
  • Presentation of colors by the Continental Color Guard
  • National Anthem by Caleb Green
  • Performance by the 3rd U.S. Infantry "The Old Guard" Fife and Drum Corps
  • Remarks by David S. Ferriero, Archivist of the United States
  • Keynote remarks by Laura Murphy, descendant of Signer Philip Livingston of New York
  • Dramatic reading of the Declaration of Independence by special guests including Abigail Adams, John Adams, John Dunlap, Benjamin Franklin, John Hancock, Ned Hector, Thomas Jefferson, and George Washington 
  • "America the Beautiful" by Caleb Green

 

11 a.m.-4 p.m.

Inside the National Archives Building (Boeing Learning Center)

Come celebrate like it it's 1776! Enjoy hands-on family activities, including story time, crafts and more! Meet John and Abigail Adams, Benjamin Franklin, John Hancock, Ned Hector, Thomas Jefferson, and George Washington.

  • Collect autographs
  • Declaring Independence scavenger hunt
  • Listen to stories of our patriotic past (noon, 12:30 p.m., 1 p.m., 1:30 p.m., 2 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 3 p.m., 3:30 p.m.)
  • Make colonial-style wigs and dress in period clothing
  • Sign the Declaration of Independence
  • Write with a quill pen
  • Set your name in type

11:45 a.m.

Watch the National Independence Day Parade go by outside the National Archives.

Thursday, July 6

Noon–1 p.m.

Discovering the Sussex Declaration
William G. McGowan Theater and on
US National Archives YouTube Channel
Harvard University researchers Danielle Allen and Emily Sneff will discuss the recent identification of a second parchment manuscript of the Declaration of Independence in Chichester, England. The manuscript, dating from the 1780s, is written in the hand of a single clerk.

All 13 of our museums at the Presidential Libraries are open on the 4th of July. Several libraries (*) will show a livestream of the Washington, DC, Declaration of Independence Reading Ceremony in their theaters for visitors to watch (10 a.m. EDT).

 

Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum, Hyde Park, NY*

Harry S. Truman Library and Museum, Independence, MO* 
The museum will be open 9 a.m.–5 p.m., and free admission will be extended to all members of the military, both active and retired.

Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum, Abilene, KS*

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston, MA*
The museum will be open 9 a.m.–5 p.m., and free admission will be extended to all members of the active military.

Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library and Museum, Austin, TX 
The museum will be open 9 a.m.–5 p.m., with free museum admission to celebrate the Fourth of July.

Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum, Yorba Linda, CA 
The Nixon Library will host Fourth of July Concerts on July 2 (Huntington Beach Band) and July 4 (Placentia Symphonic Band and Huntington Beach Symphonic Band).

Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum, Grand Rapids, MI*

Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum*

Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum, Simi Valley, CA 
To celebrate our nation’s 241st birthday, the Reagan Library is hosting a day full of family-fun activities. This year’s celebration includes patriotic concerts, family entertainment, games, crafts, and more. In the Courtyard, the 562nd Air Force Band will perform at 10 a.m., and the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department Band will perform at 1 p.m. Guests will also get to hear about the lives of Thomas Jefferson, Ulysses S. Grant, George Washington, and Abraham Lincoln throughout the day. All outdoor activities are free and run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The admission rates apply to view the Ronald Reagan Presidential Museum and the Air Force One Pavilion, which will be open until 5 p.m.

George Bush Presidential Library and Museum, College Station, TX 
The George Bush Library is honored to host the College Station Noon Lions Clubs “I Love America” Fourth of July Celebration. The museum will be open from 9:30 a.m. to 8:15 p.m. with free admission all day. Concessions start at 5:30 p.m. and include Slovacek’s sausage on a stick, kettle corn, roasted nuts, popcorn, snow cones and refreshments. There will also be free watermelon while supplies last. Live entertainment and the Kids Zone will open at 6 p.m. The Kids Zone includes games and bounce houses, face painting and Paw Paw’s Train. The evening will culminate with a concert by the Brazos Valley Symphony Orchestra and a spectacular fireworks display.

William J. Clinton Presidential Library and Museum, Little Rock, AR*
The museum will be open 9 a.m.–5 p.m., with free museum admission to celebrate the Fourth of July.
 

 

 

Learn about how National Archives conservators have cared for the Declaration of Independence.

View videos of previous July 4 celebrations on YouTube.

July 4th at the National Archives is made possible in part by the National Archives Foundation with the generous support of John Hancock, Dykema, and Boies Schiller Flexner.

 

Prologue: Quarterly of the National Archives

 

 

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