Press Release
Press Release · Monday, March 17, 2003

Press Release
March 17, 2003
National Archives Celebrates Fourth of July at Union Station

Time Traveler Benjamin Franklin reading the Declaration of Independence Media Contact:
National Archives Public Affairs
Phone: (301) 837-1700

WHAT: The National Archives will celebrate the 227th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence with its traditional Fourth of July event. The theme of this year's annual program, which will be held at Union Station, is "Freedom's Journey, A National Archives 4th of July".

The day-long program includes patriotic music, a dramatic reading of the Declaration of Independence, and free family activities.

The National Archives Building on Constitution Avenue is undergoing a major renovation and will re-open September 18, 2003.

WHEN: Friday, July 4, 2003

Activities: 11:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Ceremony: 2:00 p.m. - 3:15 p.m.

Doug Bowles and the SingCo Rhythm Orchestra playing music from the 30s and 40s

A young visitor 'joins the signers' by adding her name to a facsimile Declaration of Independence at the National Archives' July 4, 2002 celebration at Union Station, Washington, DC WHERE:
Union Station
50 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C.

Space will be reserved for the electronic media.

This popular family event is free and open to the public.

Highlights of the program are:

  • Dramatic reading of the Declaration of Independence.
  • Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin, and other historical figures portrayed by "Time Travelers" from the nationally-acclaimed acting troupe of the American Historical Theatre, will mingle with the crowd and describe their roles in American history.
  • National Archives specialists will demonstrate how to do genealogy research at the National Archives.
  • The Capital Children's Museum will join the National Archives in various children's activities (making petitions, seal activities, guess the Presidents).
  • History book fair and book signings for young and old alike.
  • Patent puzzles. View popular patents that are among the holdings of the National Archives.
  • National Archives conservators will host informal workshops on preservation of important family records and photographs.
  • National History Day participants from across the country will present winning exhibits, performances, documentaries, and papers from their national contest in June.

When the National Archives in Washington, DC reopens its Rotunda on September 18, 2003, it will not only unveil the newly re-encased Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights, but the start of a whole new National Archives Experience that will educate and inspire Americans. The National Archives Experience will help visitors, both in person and online, to discover and share in the spirit embodied in documents as diverse as the Emancipation Proclamation, Edison's patent application for the light bulb, census data, and recordings of Franklin Roosevelt's Fireside Chats.

The National Archives Experience will continue to unveil new components through 2004.

For more information about The National Archives Experience, visit the National Archives online at


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