Preserving the Past, to
Declaration & Constitution
Protect the Future
The National Archives showcases America’s “crown jewels”
---- The Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights,
known collectively as the Charters of Freedom.
The Archives has interactive exhibits for all ages
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Albert Einstein’s declaration of intention to become a U.S. citizen
The Rotunda of the National Archives Building has on permanent display originals of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights.
An exhibit about citizenship in the Public Vaults as part of the National Archives Experience.
An archivist works in one of the long stacks in the Archives
F or years, most people have come to the National Archives Building along by the Foundation for the National Archives; and the new “Digital Vaults,” an
the National Mall to visit its Rotunda and see America’s “crown jewels,” the interactive web site.
Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights, known The overall mission of the National Archives and Records Administration
collectively as the Charters of Freedom. is to preserve and protect federal records so citizens can learn from them.
You can still do that today, but you can do much, much more. You can Access to the records allows Americans to document their rights and hold their
have a “National Archives Experience.” government accountable. NARA also supports democracy, promotes civic
The heart of the “experience” is the Rotunda, but you can also explore education, and fosters understanding of our nation’s history.
America’s story in the Public Vaults, a permanent exhibition that gives you the Most important, it makes records available for today’s needs—from
feeling of going beyond the walls of the Rotunda into the stacks and vaults agency records needed for the daily tasks of Government to family records for
of the Archives. genealogy researchers and service records for military veterans.
Surrounding the Rotunda, the Public Vaults contain 1,100 documents, Among the current holdings of the National Archives nationwide are more
facsimiles and artifacts that relate the nation’s history. For example, you can than 8.5 billion pages of textual records; 360,000 reels of film and 110,000
see and hear President Theodore Roosevelt speaking 100 years ago, read videotapes, 275,000 sound recordings, nearly 9.5 still photographs and many
Irving Berlin’s original manuscript for “God Bless America,” study the camera other kinds of records, including many terabytes of electronic records that
that captured John F. Kennedy’s assassination, try to solve mysteries in coded range from simple text documents to web pages and e-mails.
war messages, and step into the private lives of our modern Presidents. A large portion of the agency’s holdings are at the National Archives
Individual “vaults” draw their themes from the Preamble to the Constitution. Building in Washington or the National Archives at College Park, Maryland.
In “We the People,” a visitor might help an elderly widow establish her identity However, much of the Archives’ work is outside of Washington area - at 12
as an American citizen, and in “To Form a More Perfect Union,” the visitor Presidential libraries, 14 regional archives, and 15 Federal Records Centers,
might explore evidence and judgments from civil rights cases. including the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, which houses
The National Archives Experience also features the William G. McGowan the records of millions of military veterans of the 20th Century as well as
Theater, where lectures and public programs are held; the Lawrence F. former civilian Federal employees.
O’Brien Gallery, for temporary exhibits; the Boeing Learning Center, the hub of
the Archives’ nationwide civic education efforts; the Archives Shop, operated
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A particular slide catching your eye?
Clipping is a handy way to collect important slides you want to go back to later.