Celebrate July 4th with the National Archives Online and In Person
Press Release · Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Washington, DC

On Sunday, July 4, 2021, the National Archives will celebrate the 245th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence with its traditional Fourth of July program online and with music and family activities in person! Highlights include welcoming remarks by Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero, a variety of educational and family-friendly interactive programs with historical figures and Archives educators, and a lively, patriotic reading ceremony emceed by journalist Soledad O’Brien. All July 4th activities are free and open to the public. Unfortunately, all timed entry tickets for the National Archives Museum to see the original Declaration of Independence in person July 2–5 are fully booked.

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

"Two hundred forty-five years ago, our founding fathers declared our independence and mutually pledged their lives, fortunes and sacred honor. Today, as in 1776, we are in a time of great change and uncertainty. As the home of this nation’s founding documents—the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights—we have a special responsibility to the ideals that all people are created equal, that all people have equal protection under the law, and that there is a common good that includes us all. Part of that responsibility includes reshaping our physical and virtual spaces to create a more inclusive and historically accurate reflection of - and tribute to -  the complexity and diversity of our nation’s founding. Let us continue to stay united as we strive for a more perfect, historically accurate, and inclusive union,” said David S. Ferriero, Archivist of the United States.  

“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, we are pleased to offer both in-person and virtual programs. We are excited to be able to share this wonderful experience with millions of Americans around the country.” 


PROGRAM INFORMATION:  July 4th at the National Archives

Virtual Program
View full virtual program online

11 a.m. – 4 p.m. ET July 4th family programming including welcome remarks from Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero; a discussion with Thomas Jefferson, James Armistead Lafayette, Martha Washington, and other historical reenactors; and educational activities with National Archives staff.  

4 p.m. ET July 4th ceremony airs on @USNatArchives Facebook page and the National Archives YouTube channel

In Person Activities—Music and Family Fun 
View full in-person program online
Outside the National Archives Museum on Constitution Ave., between 7th and 9th Streets, NW
Archives/Navy Memorial Metro stop
Note: Timed entry tickets to the Museum are fully reserved

9 a.m. – 4 p.m. ET Come on down to the National Archives Museum on Constitution Avenue for an in-person celebration with Founding Fathers Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin, and George Washington and his wife, Martha! We’re getting in the patriotic spirit with live music, crafts, and balloon and chalk artists. Plus, the National Archives store tent will be open for shopping, so you can get decked out in stars and stripes or get your very own copy of the Declaration! 

Related Upcoming Programs

BOOK TALKThe Indispensables: The Diverse Soldier-Marines Who Shaped the Country, Formed the Navy, and Rowed Washington Across the Delaware
Thursday, June 24, at noon ET
Register in advance; watch the live stream on our YouTube Channel.

Learn how a uniquely diverse group of White, Black, Hispanic, and Native American soldiers from Marblehead, MA, set an inclusive standard of unity and played a consequential role in the American Revolution. 

BOOK TALKWinning Independence: The Decisive Years of the Revolutionary War, 1778–1781
June 29, at noon ET 
Register in advance; watch the livestream on our YouTube Channel.

Author John Ferling describes the underexplored history of the second half of the Revolutionary War. Learn how the choices and decisions made by the British, Washington, and others ultimately led the French and American allies to clinch the pivotal victory at Yorktown. 

PANEL DISCUSSION–The Declaration of Independence and Diversity: Then and Now
Wednesday, June 30, at 5 p.m. ET
Register in advance; watch the livestream on our YouTube Channel.

What was diversity like in 1776, and who made up our country during that time? How did it affect the Founders and the writing of the Declaration of Independence? How do the ideals and words of the Declaration relate to issues of race, gender, and diversity today? Moderated by Edna Greene Medford, professor of history at Howard University, a distinguished panel of scholars and authors—Gloria J. Browne-Marshall, professor of constitutional law at John Jay College of Criminal Justice (CUNY); Rosemarie Zagarri, professor of history at George Mason University; and Woody Holton, professor of history at the University of South Carolina—will discuss this important and timely topic.

Related Online Learning 
Join the National Archives for a virtual journey down the road to the Declaration of Independence. This year's journey will focus on events between 1761 and 1770, each of the five episodes can be viewed on the @USNationalArchives Facebook page. Save the dates and learn about the journey of one of the nation's most important documents! See the full schedule online.


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 was the cornerstone of a nationwide initiative that included 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:


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This page was last reviewed on June 22, 2021.
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