Inaugural Exhibits and Programs at the National Archives
Press Release · Monday, April 6, 1789

Washington, DC

Includes special display of George Washington’s Inaugural Address

Washington, DC…In January, the National Archives will mark the Presidential inauguration with free exhibits and public programs including a special display of George Washington’s Inaugural Address and live-streaming of the swearing-in ceremony. Located on Constitution Avenue at 7th St. NW, along the Inaugural Parade route and on the National Mall, the National Archives expects several thousand visitors during the inaugural weekend. Fall/Winter hours are 10 a.m.–5:30 p.m. daily.

Special Document Display:  President George Washington's First Inaugural Address

East Rotunda Gallery, January 11-31, 2013.

In honor of the 2013 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.

Unseasonably cold and snowy weather delayed the first Presidential inauguration, which had been scheduled for the first Wednesday in March 1789. Many members of the First Federal Congress were unable to arrive promptly in New York City, then the seat of government. On April 6, 1789—over a month late—enough members had reached New York to tally the electoral ballots. George Washington won unanimously with 69 electoral votes. When notified of his victory, he traveled to New York City from his home in Virginia.

On April 30, 1789, George Washington took the Presidential oath on a second floor balcony of Federal Hall. Below, an enthusiastic crowd assembled in the streets. The President and members of Congress then retired to the Senate Chamber, where Washington delivered his first inaugural address.

Keenly aware of the momentousness of the occasion, Washington accepted the Presidency and spoke of his determination to make the American experiment a success. He humbly noted the power of the nation’s call for him to serve as President and the shared responsibility of the President and Congress to preserve "the sacred fire of liberty" and a republican form of government.

Full transcript, hi-res images and additional information [].

Live-streaming of Inaugural Swearing-in Ceremony

Monday, January 21, at 11:30 a.m., William G. McGowan Theater

For more than 200 years, America’s citizens have witnessed the Inauguration ceremonies of the President and Vice President of the United States. Avoid the cold and watch the live-streamed 57th quadrennial Presidential Inauguration on a big screen! Then step outside to watch the Inaugural Parade go past the National Archives!

From the Vaults: Presidential Inaugurations

January 16, 17 and 18, at noon, William G. McGowan Theater

In celebration of the 2013 Presidential inauguration, the Charles Guggenheim Center for Documentary Film presents a selection of archival motion pictures drawn from the holdings of the National Archives related to the ceremonial inaugural events, including swearing-in ceremonies, official inaugural balls, and parades.

Inaugural Quiz

Challenge yourself with our Inaugural Quiz! Online [].

Did you know the National Archives holds records of Presidential Inaugural Committees?

Learn more [].

Also on display at the National Archives Building in Washington, DC:

The Public Vaults Permanent Exhibition
This interactive exhibition 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: Our Nation’s Founding Documents
The Declaration of Independence, Constitution and Bill of Rights are on permanent display in the Rotundafor the Charters of Freedom. This exhibit takes a fresh look at the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. Using historical documents from the holdings of the National Archives, we answer two key questions about the Charters: “How did they happen?” and “Why are they important?” This exhibit also touches on the roles played by women and slaves in the Revolutionary War.

To the Brink: JFK and the Cuban Missile Crisis
Secretly recorded White House tapes form the centerpiece of this exhibit marking the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Visitors listen in as the President and his advisers work furiously to avert a nuclear war. Original documents, artifacts, and photographs complement the tapes, breathing humanity into this milestone 20th century event. With generous support from Lead Sponsor AT&T and special recognition to the Lawrence F. O'Brien Family. Through February 4 in the Lawrence F. O'Brien Gallery

The National Archives Building is fully accessible. Take Metro’s Yellow or Green lines to the Archives/Navy Memorial station. To verify the date and times of programs, call the National Archives Public Programs Line at 202-357-5000, or view the Calendar of Events online.

Please note that the Research Rooms in the National Archives Building downtown and at Archives II in College Park, MD, will be closed on January 21.

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

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