DC Debut: Alexandra Pelosi’s "The Words That Built America" at the National Archives September 19
Press Release · Monday, September 18, 2017

Washington, DC

In celebration of the 230th anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution, the National Archives presents the first DC public screening of Director-Producer Alexandra Pelosi’s new film The Words That Built America (2017; 50 minutes) on Tuesday, September 19 at 7 p.m. Ms. Pelosi will introduce the film. Register to attend the program online.

Narrated by Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David McCullough, The Words That Built America in an unabridged reading of the authentic words of our founding fathers. Director-Producer Alexandra Pelosi 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.

The program is free and open to the public and will be held in the William G. McGowan Theater of 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.

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.

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 ( 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


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