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Celebrate Constitution Day at the National Archives
Press Release · Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Washington, DC

The National Archives celebrates the 232nd anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution with special programs that include an evening with Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch (Sept. 16); Constitution Family Day (Sept. 17) and a noontime lecture on discussion on The Nature of Constitutional Rights (Sept. 17).

The National Archives has the original Constitution on permanent display in the Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom. Museum hours are 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; admission is free. (Note that the Museum will open at 11:30 a.m. on September 17, due to the Naturalization Ceremony.)

Learn more online about the U.S. Constitution through our public programs, family activities, and online resources.         

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.

BOOK TALK & SIGNING: A Republic, If You Can Keep It 
Monday, September 16, at 7 p.m.
William G. McGowan Theater
This event has reached its capacity. Click here to join the waitlist!

Watch the livestream on our YouTube Channel
As Benjamin Franklin left the Constitutional Convention in 1787, he was reportedly asked what kind of government the founders would propose. He replied, “A republic, if you can keep it.” In this book, Justice Neil Gorsuch discusses his personal reflections that focus on the remarkable gift the framers left us in the Constitution. By drawing on his 30-year career as a lawyer, teacher, judge, and justice, he explores the essential aspects of our Constitution and the importance of civic education, civil discourse, and mutual respect in maintaining a healthy republic. Joining Justice Gorsuch in conversation will be Archivist of the United States, the Honorable David S. Ferriero.

NATURALIZATION CEREMONY
Tuesday, September 17, at 10 a.m.
Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom
 
Note: The ceremony is open for press coverage, but not members of the public. Press: RSVP to public.affairs@nara.gov.
The Honorable Tanya Chutkan, United States District Court for the District of Columbia, will preside as 31 candidates 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 several of the new citizens. 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.

BOOK TALK & SIGNING: The Nature of Constitutional Rights: The Invention and Logic of Strict Judicial Scrutiny
Tuesday, September 17, at noon
William G. McGowan Theater
Reserve a seat; watch the live stream on our YouTube Channel

The U.S. Constitution protects freedom of speech, equal protection of the laws, and various other rights without specifying the circumstances under which government may lawfully infringe them. Professor Richard Fallon, Jr, explores how and why the strict scrutiny test emerged to fill that gap and, in the process, shaped American understandings of judicial review and constitutional rights themselves. 

CONSTITUTION FAMILY DAY
Tuesday, September 17, 1-4 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 resides in the Rotunda and is visited by millions of people from all around the world. Celebrate the Constitution with activities for the entire family.

STORY TIME
Wednesday, September 18, 10 a.m.–11 a.m.
Boeing Learning Center ReSource Room 

Join us for story time designed for 3- to 5-year-olds and accompanying adults. Children will listen to a story, participate in group activities, and create a craft. The theme for September is the Supreme Court and Justice Sonia Sotomayor. 

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 exhibit, A New World Is at Hand. Featuring a selection of the National Archives’ most treasured documents, this exhibit 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, permanent home to the original Constitution, 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 archives.gov.

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For press information contact the National Archives Public and Media Communications Staff at 202-357-5300.

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This page was last reviewed on September 10, 2019.
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