National Archives Commemorates the War of 1812 Bicentennial with Special Display
Press Release · Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Washington, DC

The National Archives commemorates the War of 1812 bicentennial with a free display of a recently restored sail drawing of the USS Constitution created by sail maker Charles Ware in 1817. The drawing is on display today through Monday, September 3 (Labor Day), in the East Rotunda Gallery of the National Archives Building, Washington, DC. Summer museum hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., daily; admission is free.

The USS Constitution frigate was named by George Washington and launched on October 21, 1797, in Boston, Massachusetts. Saved repeatedly from the scrap yard by its fans, it is the world’s oldest commissioned ship. It is still afloat and open for tours in Charlestown, Massachusetts.

On August 19, 1812, the USS Constitution scored the first victory for Americans in the War of 1812. In a 35-minute battle, the American frigate crushed the British HMS Guerriere. It earned its famous nickname when a crewman saw 18-pound iron cannonballs bounce off her hull and said, "Huzzah! Her sides are made of iron!" “Old Ironsides,” went on to defeat four more British warships, providing a boost in morale in a war previously marked by failure.

View an image of the USS Constitution sail drawing online [].

For information on National Archives Public Programs, call (202) 357-5000, or view the Calendar of Events online.

The National Archives and Records Administration is an independent Federal agency that serves American democracy by safeguarding and preserving the records of our Government, so people can discover, use, and learn from this documentary heritage. The National Archives ensures continuing access to the essential documentation of the rights of American citizens and the actions of their government. From the Declaration of Independence to accounts of ordinary Americans, the holdings of the National Archives directly touch the lives of millions of people. The agency supports democracy, promotes civic education, and facilitates historical understanding of our national experience. The National Archives carries out its mission through a nationwide network of archives, records centers, and Presidential Libraries, and on the Internet at

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

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