Press Release
Press Release · Monday, December 9, 2002

Press Release
December 9, 2002
MEDIA ALERT: Sneak Peek at the National Archives Rotunda

Washington, DC….Be the first to get a behind-the-scenes tour of the on-going renovation in the National Archives Rotunda. Get an up close and personal look at the final restoration of the two major murals that grace the curved walls of the Rotunda. See where the newly-encased Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights will be displayed.

WHAT: For the first time, the National Archives will invite the media to see the renovation of the National Archives Rotunda. The hard-hat tour will include an unofficial unveiling of the newly-restored paintings on canvas by noted muralist Barry Faulkner. The media may film and photograph conservator David Olin completing the restoration of the murals including filling and inpainting. The mural restoration project is the first phase of the National Archives Experience, a public/private partnership with the Foundation for the National Archives. This will be the only opportunity to film the oversized murals of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution prior to the formal reopening of the National Archives Rotunda on September 17, 2003.

WHEN: 2 PM -3 PM. Thursday, December 12, 2002.

WHERE: The tour begins in the Resource Room (G-9) and will conclude in the National Archives Rotunda. Please enter the National Archives Building through the Pennsylvania Avenue entrance, located between 7th and 9th Streets, NW.


  • Archivist of the United States, John W. Carlin will offer introductory remarks.
  • Tom Wheeler, the newly-elected President of the Foundation for the National Archives, will describe the public/private partnership between the Foundation and the National Archives.
  • Marvin Pinkert, National Archives Director of Museum Programs, will describe the plans for the newly constructed public spaces.
  • Rick Blondo, National Archives Building Renovation Specialist, will lead the renovation tour.
  • Catherine Nicholson, National Archives senior conservator, will explain the conservation treatment of the murals.
  • David Olin, of Olin Conservation Inc., will be performing final conservation treatment on the murals during the tour.

BACKGROUND: The exhibition side of the National Archives closed for renovation on July 5, 2001. The Rotunda will reopen on September 17, 2003. The renovation of the Rotunda and the surrounding exhibition space includes:

  • Restoration of the two murals by Barry Faulkner;
  • Redesign of the display cases for the Charters of Freedom to accommodate all four pages of the Constitution;
  • Making the Charters of Freedom exhibit accessible to handicapped visitors;
  • Construction of new permanent and temporary gallery space to showcase highlights of the National Archives collection.
  • While the Rotunda is under construction, the Charters of Freedom are undergoing conservation treatment and being re-encased in new state-of-the-art containers made of aluminum, titanium, and glass that will be filled with argon gas.

For additional PRESS information, please contact the National Archives Public Affairs staff at (301) 837-1700 or by e-mail.


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