Press/Journalists

The National Archives Celebrates Constitution Day
Press Release · Friday, September 15, 2017

Washington, DC

Constitution Day/Citizenship Day is September 17, 2017

The National Archives celebrates the 230th anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution with special programs that include an evening panel discussion titled “The New American Constitution” (Sept. 14) and a Constitution Family Day (Sept. 16). September 17 is designated as Constitution Day and Citizenship Day to commemorate the signing of the U.S. Constitution in Philadelphia on September 17, 1787. 

The National Archives has the original Constitution on permanent display in the Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom. Museum hours are 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; admission is free. 

  • Learn more online about the U.S. Constitution through our public programs, family activities, and online resources.  
  • Take the Constitution Challenge Quiz from the National Archives and test how well you know the Constitution of the United States.  

The programs are free and open to the public (unless otherwise noted) and will be held in the National Archives Museum in Washington, DC. Attendees should use the Special Events entrance on Constitution Avenue at 7th Street, NW. Metro accessible on the Yellow and Green lines, Archives/Navy Memorial/Penn Quarter station. 

Featured Activity in the Boeing Learning Center: U.S. Constitution
Monday – Saturday, September 1-30, 10 a.m.–4 p.m.

Boeing Learning Center
George Washington said at the end of the Constitutional Convention, “We are not to expect perfection in this world; but mankind, in modern times, have apparently made some progress in the science of government.” The U.S. Constitution is the foundation of our government and lays out its role and responsibilities. Come learn more about this incredible document that was signed 230 years ago this month. 

PROGRAM: Eleventh Annual State of the Constitution Panel “The New American Constitution”
Thursday, September 14, 7 p.m.

William G. McGowan Theater; watch a live stream on our YouTube Channel
The United States Constitution has been described as “the hinge point” in world history—the moment when the dominant form of government began to change from monarchy to democracy. Racing toward the 250th anniversary of that transformation, it is worthwhile to note that the Constitution created a new America, but also to ask if it is still a new American constitution. A panel of experts will explore the historical and modern importance of the Constitution to American society, with an emphasis on America’s changing demographic landscape. Moderated by C. Douglas Smith, vice president of James Madison’s Montpelier, speakers include Maria Hinojosa, journalist and founder of FuturoMedia Group; Ramesh Ponnuru, Bloomberg View columnist and senior editor of the National Review; and Khazir Khan, Goldstar Families. Presented in partnership with the Robert H. Smith Center for the Constitution at James Madison’s Montpelier. 

Naturalization Ceremony
Friday, September 15, at 10 a.m.

Note: The ceremony is open for press coverage, but not members of the public. Press RSVP to public.affairs@nara.gov
The Honorable Beryl A. Howell, United States District Court for the District of Columbia, will preside as 30 petitioners for United States citizenship take the oath of citizenship in front of the original “Charters of Freedom” (The Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, and the Bill of Rights) in the Rotunda of the National Archives. The ceremony includes a welcome from Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero and remarks from Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Elaine Duke and Acting Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services James McCament. This program is presented in partnership with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia and the Department of Homeland Security U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. 

Constitution Family Day
Saturday, September 16, 10 a.m.–4 p.m.

Boeing Learning Center

On September 17, 1787, after delegates to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia debated, compromised, and came up with a new framework of government for our country, they signed the document that today lives in the Rotunda and is visited by millions of people from all around the world. Celebrate 230 years of the Constitution with hands-on activities. This program is made possible in part by the National Archives Foundation through the support of John Hancock.

Film Screening: The Words That Built America

Tuesday, September 19, 7 p.m.
William G. McGowan Theater
Narrated by Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David McCullough, The Words That Built America (2017; 50 minutes) in an unabridged reading of the authentic words of our founding fathers. Joining us to introduce the film will be Director-Producer Alexandra Pelosi, who brought together more than 100 readers, including all the living Presidents and Vice Presidents, as well as Supreme Court justices, Cabinet secretaries, and the leaders of the Senate and House of Representatives, along with a wide array of celebrities, leading media figures, and young people to read these iconic documents. 

Related Exhibits in the National Archives Museum 

A New World Is at Hand
Flanking the permanent display of the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights is the exhibition, "A New World Is at Hand." Featuring a selection of the National Archives’ most treasured documents, this exhibition reveals the drama, passion, and poignancy of the struggle for freedom that has defined much of U.S. history. On Constitution Day, we call particular attention to George Washington’s own working copy of the first printed draft of the constitution. Other highlights of the exhibit include the Articles of Confederation, a working draft of the amendments that would become the Bill of Rights, and a document from the milestone Marbury v. Madison Supreme Court case.

The Public Vaults
This permanent interactive exhibition – literally located behind the wall of the display of the Constitution – is organized according to the preamble to the U.S. Constitution. The Public Vaults creates the feeling of going into the stacks and vaults of the National Archives, and offers visitors a "hands on" examination of the workings of the three branches of government, as outlined in the Constitution.

Additional Resources
The National Archives offers numerous opportunities for learning about the Constitution online or on mobile devices.

  • Founders Online (http://founders.archives.gov/)The story of the creation of the Constitution and the founding of the nation can be found in the words of the Founders themselves. The papers of James Madison (often called the father of the Constitution) as well as other Federalist Papers authors Alexander Hamilton and John Jay appear in Founders Online. The voluminous correspondence and other writings—176,000 authoritative transcribed documents and counting—reveal the details in getting the Convention to take place, putting the Constitution together, and ratifying it in the 13 states. Founders Online was created through a cooperative agreement between the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC), the grant-making arm of the National Archives, and the University of Virginia (UVA) Press. Over 3 million visitors have used this free public resource.  
  • See online resources for teaching about the Constitution.  
  • The DocsTeach Constitution Day web page helps educators locate primary sources from the National Archives that document the creation and structure of our government. DocsTeach is an online teaching tool that helps educators to find and create interactive learning activities.  
  • Find eBooks and our iTunes U course on the Constitution, plus other education resources, on our education blog.
The National Archives is an independent Federal agency that preserves and shares with the public records that trace the story of our nation, government, and the American people. 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 National Archives carries out its mission through a nationwide network of archives, records centers, and Presidential Libraries, and online at www.archives.gov.
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This page was last reviewed on September 15, 2017.
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