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National Archives

Posted by on January 31, 2012

Field Trip: National Archives
Location: 700 Pennsylvania Ave
NW, Washington, DC 20408
Contact: 202-357-5000
Grades: 2nd – High School
Admission: FREE


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About the Museum:

The National Archives Experience is home of the original Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights which are housed in the Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom.

Visitors may wait in the general public line for entry at any time the museum is open. However, advance reservations are highly recommended and will allow visitors to avoid the exterior portion of the line to see the Charters of Freedom during the height of the tourist season (mid-March through Labor Day) and during holiday seasons such as the weeks of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s. The convenience fee for online reservations is $1.50 per person and admission to all of the National Archives Experience exhibits is free.

William G. McGowan Theater: All visitors are encouraged to begin their visit by viewing the 11-minute introductory film in the McGowan Theater. Also, this 290-seat continuously shows a short signature film about the National Archives and twice daily shows a film about the Charters of Freedom.

Public Vaults: You begin your tour of the Public Vaults in the Record of America. This central pathway connects our Public Vaults and takes you on a journey through time and the changing technology of records. Branching off of this pathway are five “vaults.” These vaults feature new electronic tools that will allow you to explore fragments of our past in astonishing detail. Each of the Public Vaults draws its themes from words in the Preamble to the Constitution:

  • We the People – records of family and citizenship;
  • To Form a More Perfect Union – records of liberty and law;
  • Provide for the Common Defense – records of war and diplomacy;
  • Promote the General Welfare – records of frontiers and firsts; and
  • To Ourselves and Our Posterity – keeping records for future

Education Department:

Constitution-in-Action Lab: Twice per day, the Learning Lab provides an on-site 2-hour collaborative research experience for up to 36 6th – 12th graders. Reservations are required. In the Lab, students take on the roles of archivists and researchers completing a very important assignment: providing the President of the United States with real-life examples of our Constitution in action for a new public information campaign. Using the “Stacks” and the “Reading Room” – replicas of the actual research facilities used by archivists at the National Archives every day—students will find, select and analyze document facsimiles. They will mine these primary sources for historical examples of such political concepts as checks and balances and separation of powers, gaining a greater understanding of the important role the Constitution plays in both our government and our daily lives.

ReSource Room: In the ReSource Room during you can obtain copies of documents featured in our exhibits, participate in Archival Adventures, hands-on activities that encourage historical discovery; explore online resources; preview our educational publications; and sign up for Teaching with Documents workshops. The ReSource Room is open Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and reservations are not required.

Regional Education Program: Across the United States, 28 states, including Maryland, Virginia, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, California, Texas, and Mississippi, offer public programming for schools through regional Archives and Presidential Libraries.

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