Celebrate July 4th Online with the National Archives
Press Release · Friday, June 12, 2020

Washington, DC

First-ever Virtual Ceremony!

The National Archives will host a virtual Independence Day celebration on July 4, 2020, in partnership with the nonprofit National Archives Foundation. The event will take place at 4 p.m. on @USNatArchives Facebook page and YouTube channel.  Several hours of additional educational programming will be offered throughout the day.

For 50 years, the National Archives has hosted a reading of the Declaration of Independence at its iconic home in Washington, DC, to celebrate the founding of the United States. This year, the National Archives will lift the words of the Declaration of Independence off of its well-worn and much-loved parchment and bring them to homes across the country through this virtual program.

Host and narrator Soledad O’Brien will capture the patriotic spirit of the occasion and allow Americans across the country to take part in the Archives celebration. 

"Two hundred forty-four years ago, our founding fathers declared our independence and mutually pledged their lives, fortunes and sacred honor.  Today, as in 1776, we face fear, uncertainty, and challenges to our lives, economy, and general welfare. Throughout our history, as a nation united, we have confronted and overcome such threats. Let us continue to stay united as we strive for a more perfect – and more healthy – union,” said David S. Ferriero, Archivist of the United States.

The program will include the Declaration of Independence reading ceremony complete with reenactors representing Thomas Jefferson, George Washington and John Adams, as well as a day of live educational programming featuring those historical reenactors teaching the importance and providing greater understanding of the founding of our nation. 

Our Archives 4th of July program is always special to our guests and the entire Archives Museum family,” said James J. Blanchard, Chair and President of the National Archives Foundation Board. “This year, during these difficult times, our virtual program will be shared with millions more Americans and inspire all of us to renew the American dream.”

The National Archives education team will host a series of programming leading up to and beyond the July 4th celebration entitled, Virtual Journey of the Declaration of Independence educational program series on the @USNatArchives Facebook page. For the full schedule of programs from June 11 through August 2, visit

July 4th at the National Archives is made possible in part by the National Archives Foundation with the generous support of John Hancock and AARP.

The virtual July 4th Schedule will be as follows

  • 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. EST July 4th family programming including welcome remarks from Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero, a discussion with Thomas Jefferson and other historical reenactors, and educational activities. Register here
  • 4:00 p.m. EST July 4th ceremony airs on @USNatArchives Facebook page and YouTube page

Related online learning:  

  • Join the National Archives Education team for the Virtual Journey of the Declaration of Independence via the @USNatArchives Facebook page (through August 2, 2020).  See: Virtual Journey schedule and video playlist (National Archives YouTube Channel)

Related online exhibits highlight struggle for equal and civil rights:

  • Records of Rights permanent exhibit explores the ongoing struggle of Americans to define, attain, and protect the ideals of freedom enshrined in our nation’s founding documents. The “Bending Towards Justice” section showcases the drive for civil rights for African Americans. Online curators’ tour here.  
  • Rightfully Hers: American Women and the Vote commemorates the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment by looking beyond suffrage parades and protests to the often overlooked story behind this landmark moment in American history. This is the cornerstone of a nationwide initiative that includes free public programs, a traveling exhibition, "pop-up" displays, and expanded educational resources. Online curator’s tour here.  

Related public domain videos on the National Archives YouTube Channel:

Join in the #ArchivesJuly4 conversation on social media!

About the National Archives
The National Archives and Records Administration is an independent federal agency that serves American democracy by safeguarding and preserving the records of our Government, so people can discover, use, and learn from this documentary heritage. The National Archives ensures continuing access to the essential documentation of the rights of American citizens and the actions of their government. 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 agency supports democracy, promotes civic education, and facilitates historical understanding of our national experience. The National Archives carries out its mission through a nationwide network of archives, records centers, and Presidential Libraries and online at

About the National Archives Foundation
The National Archives Foundation is an independent nonprofit that increases public awareness of the National Archives, inspires a deeper appreciation of our country’s heritage, and encourages citizen engagement in our democracy. The Foundation generates financial and creative support for National Archives exhibitions, public programs and educational initiatives, introducing America’s records to people around the U.S. and the world. Learn more at


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This page was last reviewed on June 12, 2020.
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