Inaugural Exhibits and Programs at the National Archives
Press Release · Monday, December 20, 2004

Washington, D.C. . . . In January the National Archives will mark the Presidential inauguration with a number of free exhibits and public programs. Located along the Inaugural Parade route and on the National Mall, the National Archives expects several thousand visitors during the Inaugural weekend. The National Archives building is located on Constitution Avenue at 7th St. NW.

Special Document Display: President George Washington's First Inaugural Address
January 10-25, 2005
In honor of the 2005 inaugural, the National Archives will display the first and last pages of President George Washington's First Inaugural Address, delivered in New York City on April 30, 1789. The pages are in George Washington's own clear and distinctive handwriting. The Bible on which Washington took the oath of office will also be displayed, courtesy of St. John's Lodge No. 1 in New York City. This Bible was subsequently used in the inaugural ceremonies of Warren Harding (1921), Dwight D. Eisenhower (1953), Jimmy Carter (1977), and George H.W. Bush (1989); rainy weather prevented its use in the inauguration of George W. Bush in 2001.

The American Presidency: Photographic Treasures of the National Archives
Through February 21, 2005
Presented by U.S. News & World Report, this exhibit shows 40 exceptional images that reveal the character of our Chief Executives over the last 150 years, drawn from the millions of photos in the holdings of the National Archives and its 11 Presidential libraries. These photos capture not just the events of public life, but the human qualities of our leaders. The rarely-seen images reproduced in the exhibit reflect the work of the talented White House photographers and their access to the corridors of power. Lawrence F. O'Brien Gallery.

The Public Vaults Permanent Exhibition
This brand new interactive exhibition conveys the feeling of going into stacks and vaults of the National Archives, and features sections on Presidential decision-making, public addresses, private deliberations, and correspondence including original documents signed by Presidents George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. Visitors can view home movies of US Presidents as children, including footage of a young George W. Bush playing in the snow.

The Charters of Freedom
The Declaration of Independence, Constitution and Bill of Rights are on permanent display in the Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom.


History of Presidential Inaugurations
Wednesday, January 5 at noon
Historians Donald R. Kennon and James M. Goode will discuss the history of Presidential inaugurations. Kennon's illustrated presentation will focus on the history of oath-taking ceremonies at the Capitol. Goode will examine the history of inaugural stands and parades. Kennon is Chief Historian with the United States Capitol Historical Society, and Goode is a historian and former curator of the Smithsonian Institution Building, also known as the Castle. This event is cosponsored by the White House Historical Association. This event will be held in the Jefferson Room (Room 122). Reservations required. Reserve by e-mail ( or telephone (202-501-5000).

Washington's Inaugural Bible
Monday, January 10 at noon
Ryan Johnson will discuss the official and unofficial history of the Bible on which George Washington took the oath of office at the fist Presidential inauguration, in 1789. Johnson is chairman of the Presidential Inaugural Bible Committee of St. John's Lodge No. 1 of the Free and Accepted Masons of the State of New York. The lodge was founded in 1757 under English jurisdiction and is one of the oldest in the country. The George Washington Inaugural Bible is its most treasured possession. Washington Room (Room 121). Reservations required. Reserve by e-mail ( or telephone (202-501-5000).

From the Vaults: Washington DC and the Presidents
Tuesday, January 18 at noon
In conjunction with Inauguration Week activities, the National Archives presents a program of archival film taken from the motion picture holdings of the National Archives related to the Presidents and the White House. Included will be scenes of past inaugurals, Head of State visits, musical performances at the White House, and other rarities. (Approximately 90 minutes.) McGowan Theater. Reservations required. Reserve by e-mail ( or telephone (202-501-5000).

* * *

For additional PRESS information, please contact the National Archives Public Affairs staff at (202) 501-5525. Visit the National Archives on the Web at For more information or permission to film during the Inaugural weekend, contact the NARA Public Affairs staff at (202) 501-5525.


This page was last reviewed on January 7, 2013.
Contact us with questions or comments.