National Archives Hosts Traditional Fourth of July Celebration
Press Release · Thursday, May 29, 2008

WHAT:   The National Archives will celebrate the 232nd anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence with its traditional Fourth of July program, this year featuring NBC4 news anchor Jim Handly as Master of Ceremonies.

The celebration will include patriotic music, a dramatic reading of the Declaration by historical reenactors Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and Ned Hector, and exciting free family activities and entertainment for all ages.

WHEN:   Friday, July 4, 2008, Ceremony: 10 a.m. – 11 a.m.
Family activities: 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Exhibits (including the original Declaration of Independence): 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.

WHERE:   Constitution Avenue steps, National Archives Building
Between 7th and 9th Streets, NW, Washington, DC
Space will be reserved for the electronic media.

July Fourth at the National Archives is made possible in part by the generous support of John Hancock Financial Services.

Program Information

July Fourth at the National Archives

This popular family event is free and open to the public. Seating on the Constitution Avenue steps is available on a first-come, first-seated basis. Highlights of the morning ceremony and family activities that will be held throughout the day include:

10 a.m. – 11 a.m.

  • Presentation of Colors by the Continental Color Guard
  • Performance by the U.S. Army 3rd Infantry (The Old Guard) Fife and Drum Corps
  • NBC4 News anchor Jim Handly will serve as the Master of Ceremonies with keynote remarks by Archivist of the United States Allen Weinstein
  • Dramatic Reading of the Declaration of Independence by special guests: Foundation for the National Archives Board Member Riley Temple along with historical reenactors Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and Ned Hector.

Family Activities
11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. (Rotunda and Presidential Conference Rooms)
Meet Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Gen. Bernardo deGalvez, and other historical figures

Patriotic Activities in the Jefferson Room

  • Air your grievances in a Revolutionary manner with a quill pen
  • Don a tri-corner hat and step up to the podium to declare your independence
  • Show patriotic pride with a National Archives temporary tattoo

“Running for Office” Exhibit-Related Activities in the Washington Room

  • Make a campaign button or bumper sticker
  • Test your knowledge of history and politics with Presidential Bingo
  • Fill out a voting ballot

Historical Activities throughout the National Archives Experience

  • “Our Secret Constitution” with History is a Hoot, Inc.
  • Sign a full-size facsimile of the Declaration of Independence
  • Explore full-size facsimiles of landmark historical documents
  • Learn how to use the new web site the “Digital Vaults” to make a movie, a poster, and more

The National Archives Building is fully accessible. Please note: there will be a sign language interpreter for the ceremony.

Extended Museum Hours:  To continue the Fourth of July celebration, the National Archives Experience will extend its viewing hours to 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. from July 4 through July 6. Normal summer hours of 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. resume on Monday, July 7.

Visit, or call (202) 357-5000 for information about all National Archives public programs.

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For press information contact the National Archives Public Affairs staff at 202-357-5300.


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