Start Your Fourth of July Celebration at the National Archives
Press Release · Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Home of the Declaration of Independence Hosts Traditional Patriotic Ceremony


The National Archives will celebrate the 237th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence with its traditional Fourth of July program. C-SPAN host Steve Scully will return to serve as emcee for the second year, and Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero will make remarks.

The celebration will include patriotic music, a dramatic reading of the Declaration by historical reenactors, and exciting free family activities and entertainment for all ages.

Watch a video of past program highlights:

July 4th at the National Archives is presented in partnership with the Foundation for the National Archives and is made possible in part by the generous support of Lead Sponsor John Hancock Financial and Dykema.


Thursday, July 4, 2013, Ceremony: 10 a.m. – 11 a.m.
Family activities: 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Exhibits (including the original Declaration of Independence): 10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.


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. There will be a sign-language interpreter for the ceremony.

Program Information

July 4th 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.

Discovering the National Archives
8 – 9:30 a.m.

  • Sign a facsimile of the Declaration of Independence on 7th Street and Constitution Avenue.

Declaration of Independence Reading Ceremony
10 – 11 a.m.

  • Ceremony emcee, C-SPAN host Steve Scully.
  • Presentation of colors by the Continental Color Guard*
  • National Anthem led by the United States Air Force Band
  • Performance by the Fife and Drum Corps*
  • Remarks by Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero
  • Dramatic reading of the Declaration of Independence by special guests including Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and Ned Hector (portrayed by historical reenactors)

* Continental Color Guard and Fife and Drum Corps provided by U.S. 3rd Infantry, the Old Guard

Note: This year, visitors have the option to view the ceremony from the air-conditioned comfort of the William McGowan Theater. Make advance reservations by emailing

Stay and enjoy front row seats for the National Independence Day Parade following the ceremony at 11:45 a.m.

Family Activities
11 a.m.–4 p.m.

Inside the National Archives Experience

  • Listen to stories of our patriotic past in the Boeing Learning Center 10 a.m., 12 p.m., 1:30 p.m., and 3 p.m.
  • Participate in a variety of hands-on family activities in the Boeing Learning Center.
  • Between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., meet Revolutionary figures: Abigail and John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, John Hancock, Thomas Jefferson, and other historical figures.

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

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This page was last reviewed on February 14, 2019.
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