Start Your Fourth of July Celebration at the National Archives, the Home of the Declaration of Independence
Press Release · Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Washington, DC

On Monday, July 4, 2022, the National Archives will celebrate the 246th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence with its traditional in-person Fourth of July program featuring musical performances and family activities. Highlights include welcoming remarks by Acting Archivist of the United States Debra Steidel Wall, a variety of educational and family-friendly interactive programs with historical figures and Archives educators, and a lively, patriotic reading ceremony emceed by WUSA9 News Anchor Allison Seymour. All July 4th activities are free and open to the public. Extended hours for the National Archives Museum during the July 4th weekend (July 2, 3, and 4) are 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. Timed entry tickets to see the original Declaration of Independence in person are available, but not required.

July 4th at 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-six years ago, our Founding Fathers declared our independence and mutually pledged their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor. Today, as in 1776, we face fear, change, and uncertainty. Throughout our history, as a nation united, we have confronted and overcome such threats. 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. While the parchment has faded, the spirit of the Declaration remains. Let us stay united as we strive for a more perfect, historically accurate, and inclusive union,” said Acting Archivist of the United States Debra Steidel Wall.

“I am honored to have been asked to keynote the July 4th Reading Ceremony,” said Rodney Slater, Vice Chair of the National Archives Foundation Board and former U.S. Secretary of Transportation. “As the home of the original Declaration of Independence, what better venue than the National Archives to commemorate our nation's founding and to rejoice and celebrate, once again together, in-person, the values we all cherish and share in our ongoing quest to become a more perfect Union."

PROGRAM INFORMATION: July 4th at the National Archives

WHEN: Monday, July 4, 2022

Ceremony: 10 a.m.–11 a.m.  

Family activities: 11 a.m.–4 p.m. 

Exhibits (including the original Declaration of Independence): 10 a.m.–7 p.m. 

WHERE: National Archives Building Constitution Avenue steps 

Between 7th and 9th Streets, NW, Washington, DC

A riser will be reserved for the press.

Note: The 10 a.m. ceremony will be livestreamed on the National Archives YouTube channel and on the US National Archives Facebook page. 

This family event is free and open to the public. Seating on the Constitution Avenue steps is available on a first-come, first-seated basis.

Patriotic Shopping at the National Archives Tent Store on Constitution Avenue 
8:30 a.m.–6:00 p.m.

Live Musical Performance by The Experience Band and Show
9 a.m.–9:45 a.m.

Declaration of Independence Reading Ceremony
10 a.m.–11 a.m.

  • Greetings by master of ceremonies WUSA9 News Anchor Allison Seymour
  • Presentation of colors by the Continental Color Guard*
  • Live performance of the National Anthem by D.C. Washington, Lt. Col. (ret.) U.S. Army
  • Performance by the Fife and Drum Corps*
  • Remarks by Acting Archivist of the United States Debra Steidel Wall
  • Keynote Speech by Vice Chair of the National Archives Foundation Board of Directors and Former Secretary of Transportation Rodney Slater 
  • Dramatic reading of the Declaration of Independence by costumed interpreters portraying historical characters, including Abigail Adams, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, James Forten, John Hancock, Ned Hector, Thomas Jefferson, and George Washington 
  • Live performance of “America the Beautiful” by D.C. Washington

* Continental Color Guard and Fife and Drum Corps provided by U.S. 3rd Infantry, the Old Guard.

Live Musical Performance by The Experience Band and Show
11 a.m.–11:45 a.m.

Stay and enjoy front-row seats for the National Independence Day Parade at 11:45 a.m.

Family Activities
11 a.m.–4 p.m.

Inside the National Archives Museum, Boeing Learning Center

  • Participate in hands-on family activities:
  • Celebrate Sovereignty
  • Declaring Independence Scavenger Hunt
  • Listen to stories of our patriotic past (noon, 12:30, 1, 1:30, 2, 2:30, 3, 3:30 p.m.)
  • Design and Make Your Own Independence Day Button
  • Sign the Declaration of Independence
  • Help Design the National Archives Building
  • Coloring and Activity Stations
  • Meet and have your picture taken with Revolutionary figures Abigail and John Adams, James Forten, Benjamin Franklin, Ned Hector, John Hancock, Thomas Jefferson, and George Washington between noon and 4 p.m.
  • And a whole lot more!

Related Upcoming Virtual Programs

BOOK TALKRebels at Sea: Privateering in the American Revolution
Tuesday, June 28, at 1 p.m. ET
Register to attend online; watch on the National Archives YouTube Channel 

The heroic story of the founding of the U.S. Navy during the Revolution has been told many times, yet largely missing from maritime histories of America’s first war is the ragtag fleet of private vessels. In Rebels at Sea, historian Eric Jay Dolin corrects that omission and contends that privateers, as they were called, with their privately owned vessels, were in fact critical to the American victory. Dolin explains that at a time when the young Continental Navy numbered no more than about 60 vessels, privateers rushed to fill the gaps. Nearly 2,000 set sail over the course of the war, with tens of thousands of Americans serving on them and capturing some 1,800 British ships. The author argues that privateersmen were as patriotic as their fellow Americans and that they greatly contributed to the war’s success: diverting critical British resources to protecting their shipping, playing a key role in bringing France into the war on the side of the United States, and bolstering the new nation’s confidence that it might actually defeat the most powerful military force in the world.

The Road to the Declaration of Independence: The Early 1770s—The Flame of Independence is Kindled 
Join our four-part virtual journey on the road to the creation of the Declaration of Independence. Highlights of this series are reflections about the Boston Massacre, Petitions for Manumission, the establishment of the Committees of Correspondence, and discussion about the Tea Act.  

Part One: “The Fatal 5th of March 1770, Can Never be Forgotten!” Dr. Joseph Warren
Tuesday, June 28, at noon ET
Watch the Virtual Premiere on the National Archives YouTube Channel

On the second annual commemoration of the Boston Massacre, Dr. Joseph Warren gives his speech to the citizens of Boston, pointing out the injustices of British parliamentary laws.  

Part Two: Let my people go!” Reflections on the Appointment of William, Earl of Dartmouth, by Phillis Wheatley, 1772, and the 1773 Petition for Manumission from Felix to Governor Hutchinson
Wednesday, June 29 at noon ET

Watch the Virtual Premiere on the National Archives YouTube Channel
In the early 1770s, two enslaved people, Phillis Wheatley and a man named Felix, imagine independence for people of color. 

Part Three: Origins and Objectives of the Committees of Correspondence
Thursday, June 30 at noon ET 
Watch the Virtual Premiere on the National Archives YouTube Channel

Thomas Jefferson provides an examination of the origins of the Committees of Correspondence and relates grievances that we will see again in the 1776 Declaration of Independence. 

Part Four: Liberty Tea!– An Examination of the Act That Broke the Camel’s Back
Friday, July 1 at noon ET 

Watch the Virtual Premiere on the National Archives YouTube Channel
After the American tea protests of 1773 and 1774, Mercy Otis Warren and Samuel Adams join Abigail Adams at tea time for coffee and conversation.

Related online exhibit 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.

Related videos on the National Archives YouTube Channel:


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This page was last reviewed on June 14, 2022.
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