National Archives, Washington D.C.
The National Archives houses some of the most important documents in the history of the United States and it should be one of the first places that most visitors should see.
Some of the documents on display are the Magna Carta, the Constitution of the United States, the Bill of Rights, and the Declaration of Independence.
If you have time I would definitely recommend that you stop by for a quick visit.
The Declaration of Independence, Constitution of the United States and Bill of Rights is on display at the National Archives in the Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom. The Rotunda entrance is on Constitution Avenue. The National Archives is open from 10am-5:30pm during Fall-Winter and 10am-7pm during Spring-Summer. Admission is Free.
For more information on visiting, see:
We were a bit suprised to see that the US National Archives should have the tightest security of all the buildings we got to see in Washington, D.C., but I guess Americans truly don't mess around when it comes to their Declaration of Independence, Constitution and Bill of Rights. The original copies of all three documents are on display in the Rotunda of the building completed in 1935. Up until then, there was no specific place where to store such important historical documents, so truth be told, it's a bit ironic to see how thorough security now is. As a rather stern officer told us, only a limited number of people are allowed at once in the rotunda, and drinks, food - even chewing gum! - and photos are strictly forbidden. The low lights and silence in the Rotunda made us feel like we were at a wake! As Canadians, I can't honestly say that seeing the real US Declaration of Independence did much for us, so we quickly moved on to the public vaults, which feature a collection of historical documents, letters and photographs that we thought were much more interesting.
Visit here mainly to pass through The Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom, which contains The Declaration of Independence, The Constitution, The Bill of Rights, and other historic documents.
There are other exhibit rooms with a variety of themes represented and the displays change periodically. This is one D.C. venue that frequently has long lines, so try to make your way there either early or late in the day.
The coolest museum exhibit of all has to be the original manuscripts of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution, which are on display at the National Archives. Visitors will also get to learn about the elaborate means by which these documents are protected from theft and disaster.
The National Archives is a must see/do for any American. This is where they display the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Declaration of Independence. There are several other exhibits in the Archives but the most popular are housed in the Rotunda.
Inside the Rotunda are the displays of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Declaration of Independence. It can get quite crowded here but if you are patient you can view the documents or should I say what is left of them. The ink is rather faded and the parchment quite worn but it is still something to see.
Our most recent visit here was in January 2014. We took our friend Lydia here during her first ever visit to D.,C.
**No photography is allowed inside.**
We came here for the first time with my son's baseball team before we went up to Cal Ripkin's place for a tournament.
Advance reservations are highly recommended and will allow visitors to avoid the exterior portion of the line to see the Charters of Freedom. The Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom is the permanent home of the Declaration of Independence, Constitution of the United States, and Bill of Rights. These three documents are known collectively as the Charters of Freedom. The convenience fee for online reservations is $1.50 per person and admission to all of the National Archives Experience exhibits is free.
Reserved visits are available at the following times:
Guided Tours, 9:45 a.m., Monday through Friday
Timed Visit Entry, 10 a.m. to 90 minutes before closing, daily
The website says:
Our exhibit spaces at Archives I will remain open to the public from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. seven days a week, year round. In the past, we offered extended hours from March 15 through Labor Day. We will no longer offer these extended hours.
Last admission is 30 minutes prior to closing.
(Closed Thanksgiving Day and December 25)
Having said that, we made a last minute stop here after spending the afternoon at the National Gallery of Art West Wing. We went through the security checks that we were used to after 6 weeks of touring Washington. I was not much into visiting the archives, but Mark talked me into doing it.
It has over 3 billion records and house the original Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights and the Constitution. A new exhibit is currently running, known as 'The Public Vaults', we did not see it.
On July 4, 1776 We had taken the first step to becoming a free nation, but without its toll on our lives and economy. Yet, we prevailed and have become a nation I am very proud to be part of.
"The Declaration announced to the world the separation of the thirteen colonies from Great Britain and the establishment of the United States of America. It explained the causes of this radical move with a long list of charges against the King. In justifying the Revolution, it asserted a universal truth about human rights in words that have inspired downtrodden people through the ages and throughout the world to rise up against their oppressors."Retrieved from:The National Archives Experience
Security is a must here too and will go through the process as if your going through an airport so be prepared.
The documents are on displayed and protected by sealing cassings to preserve them.
Photo's are welcome, but "No Flash!" Hehehehe, I click off one and you'd thought the world ended, but after they calmed down I reminded them they were not clear and their was no signs posted. So they started reminding everyone - Ok, I am bad:^)
The Rotunda of the National Archives Building in downtown Washington, DC, reopened on September 18. The Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Declaration of Independence have returned to public display. For more information, see the National Archives Experience.
Monday & Wednesday 8:45 am - 5:00 pm
Tuesday, Thursday & Friday 8:45 am - 9:00 pm
Saturday 8:45 am - 4:45 pm
Closed Sundays and Federal Holidays
Pull times for files
Fall & Winter Seasons (Day after Labor Day through March 31)
10:00 A.M.–5:30 P.M. (every day, except closed on December 25)
Spring Season (April 1 through the Friday before Memorial Day Weekend)
10:00 A.M.–7:00 P.M. (every day)
Summer Season (Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day)
10:00 A.M.–9:00 P.M. (every day)
The National Archives are where the country's most valuable documents are stored and serves as a research resource center for advanced scholars as well as those with less prestigious credentials. Just imagine, only 1 to 3% of all documents in the United States are considered important enough to store them here. Want something more concrete? Well, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights are here. Oh, and one of the few original copies of Magna Carta too! Prior to the National Archives formation in 1934, each branch of government was responsible for archiving their own documents. The building is one of the city's more ornate as well as state of the art, especially at the time of its construction, as special air-handlers were necessary to ensure the safety of the perishable goods it was to house.
This was a definite if brief stop. We found it kind of amusing that there was such a big line for the US treasures while the Magna Carta garnered only a short glance by most passing by.
From all the museums and memorials in Washington, this is a Must See (yes, with capital letters). The reasons: the display of the original Declaration of Independence, Constitution, Bill of Rights, and one of the four remaining copies of the English 1297 Magna Carta, which is also the only copy residing in the United States.
Some of the originals, like the Declaration of Independence and the Magna Carta, can be hardly read because of the time passed and the fading ink. However, those of the Constitution and Bill of Rights are in good conditions and can be read.
Entrance is free, and depending of the time of the year, it is open until 5 pm (from Labour Day until spring) or until 7 pm (from spring until Labour Day).
The National Archives preserves and provides access to the records of the Federal Government. We saw the Declaration of Independence, Articles of Confederation, Constitution, Louisiana Purchase, Emancipation Proclamation ...
the national archive building was designed by john russell pope, the architect of the national gallery of art and the jefferson monument. it opened in 1934 and it's main purpose is to preserve our nation's important documents. the main interest to visitors to the national archives is to see the u.s. constitution, the declaration of independence, the bill of rights. also a must see item in the archives is a 1297 copy of the magna carta. a must see site when visiting washington.
the movie "National Treasure" inspired me to visit the national archives when i was in d.c the second time around. moving through the rotunda for the charters of freedom i was like "ahh so this was the one that was shown in the movie!" hahaha. seriously though, a trip to the national archives is a fun and educational experience. being able to see the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights up close was something else! being also able to view and read previously classified documents was an experience to relish. so do take the national archives experience. i guarantee you, its worth it.
exhibit hours is from 10am - 5:30pm and last admission is 30 minutes prior to closing. admission is free and a lot of people take advantage of this so be sure to go early. plan on spending about 90 minutes visiting the three exhibit galleries.
As museums and attractions in Washington go, aside from the obvious visit to the Rotunda of the Archives to see the Declaration of Independence, Constitution and other important documents, I found this location less stimulating than others. Of course, that certainly depends upon your interests and I would also recommend a visit here, but would offer that it is one where perhaps a minimum amount of time is required. The Rotunda and its paintings and documents are the main attraction for sure. There are also some interactive displays regarding various moments in history, but I would not suggest they are a "must see."
However, if you are a student of genealogy or other important artifacts of the past, then this IS the place for you! As we wandered away from the other visitors, we found a department where a kind gentleman gave us an informal tour of some of the maps, census records, and other material available for research. This is the real substance of the National Archives and surely a treasure trove to those who require this information.