National Archives Hosts Traditional Fourth of July Celebration
Press Release · Thursday, May 14, 2009

WHAT: The National Archives will celebrate the 233rd anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence with its traditional Fourth of July program, this year featuring NBC News National Correspondent Bob Dotson as Master of Ceremonies.

The celebration will include patriotic music, a dramatic reading of the Declaration by historical reenactors and by middle school National History Day award winners, and exciting free family activities and entertainment for all ages. See a short video of last year's event.Open a video clip

WHEN:  Saturday, July 4, 2009, 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

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

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

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
  • The singing of the National Anthem and America the Beautiful by tenor Duane Moody
  • NBC News National Correspondent Bob Dotson as the Master of Ceremonies
  • Keynote remarks by Timothy Naftali, Director of the Richard M. Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in Yorba Linda, CA
  • Remarks by Adrienne Thomas, Acting Archivist of the United States
  • Dramatic Reading of the Declaration of Independence by historical reenactors Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and Ned Hector, and by middle school National History Day award winners

Extended museum hours
10:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. – July 3, 4, and 5

BIG! A special exhibition celebrating the 75th anniversary of the National Archives and featuring big records, big events, and big ideas

Family Activities, July 4
11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

  • Meet Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Abigail Adams and other historical figures
  • Sign a full-size facsimile of the Declaration of Independence
  • Explore full-size facsimiles of landmark historical documents
  • Participate in Archival Adventures – hands-on activities that encourage historical discovery
  • Play historical games and put together BIG! Puzzles

Patriotic Activities in the Jefferson Room

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

“BIG!” Exhibit-Related Activities in the Washington Room

  • Design and receive a BIG award
  • Use a pantograph to make large scale drawings
  • Color in a BIG version of the Declaration of Independence Faulkner Mural

“BIG” treasure hunt—Lawrence F. O’Brien Gallery

Extended Museum Hours:  In honor of the Fourth of July celebration, the National Archives Experience will extend its visiting hours for the entire weekend. The National Archives Experience will be open from 10am to 9pm on Friday, July 3, Saturday, July 4, and Sunday, July 5. Normal summer visiting hours of 10 a.m.-7 p.m. resume Monday, July 6.

For information on all National Archives public programs, visit, or call (202) 357-5000.

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


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