Washington, DC Area Events

April 2014
Washington, DC, Area Events

Photo by Art Kane, 1958. Courtesy of Jean Bach, Inc.

Watch our programs live on Ustream! All book lectures and evening programs are streamed live for free at www.ustream.tv/usnationalarchives.

Program Highlights

  • Screening of Masaaki Miyazawa’s Umi Yama Ahida
    Miyazawa’s breathtaking new film explains Japanese methods of environmental sustainability and protection of forests (April 11).
  • An Idea Whose Time Has Come: Two Presidents, Two Parties, and the Battle for the Civil Rights Act of 1964
    Journalists Todd Purdum and Cokie Roberts discuss the political battles behind the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act (April 15).
  • Constitution-in-Action Learning Lab Family Program
    Families are invited to take on the role of researchers and archivists for a day (April 15).
  • Emancipation and Home Rule: A Dual Struggle for Equality
    A panel discusses the symbiotic relationship between the struggle for emancipation and the struggle for home rule in Washington, DC (April 17).
  • Jazz Diplomacy
    John Edward Hasse leads a discussion on jazz as a diplomatic tool, focusing on efforts by the United States Information Agency, the Voice of America, and the U.S. Department of State (April 24); watch the documentary A Great Day in Harlem (April 25).
  • Noontime Lectures
    Hear the authors of Appomattox: Victory, Defeat, and Freedom at the End of the Civil War (April 4); The Fight for the Four Freedoms: What Made FDR and the Greatest Generation Truly Great (April 7); The Crusade Years, 1933–1955: Herbert Hoover’s Lost Memoir of the New Deal Era and its Aftermath (April 15); and Harlem’s Rattlers and the Great War: The Undaunted 369th Regiment and the African American Quest for Equality (April 18).
  • Know Your Records
    Learn how to find National Archives records on FamilySearch.org (April 1 and 3); get started with the Introduction to Genealogy workshop (April 2); explore resources on Archives.gov (April 9 and 23); find out how to use the nonpopulation census records (April 16); learn how to locate immigrant ancestors from the West Indies (April 17); go Beyond the Basics with this genealogy lecture on immigration records (April 26); or make an appointment for genealogy research with “Help, I’m Stuck!” (April 26).

Locations, Hours, and Contact Information

All events listed in the calendar are free unless noted; reservations are not required unless noted. Seating is on a first-come, first–served basis. For McGowan Theater programs, unless otherwise noted, the doors to the building will open 45 minutes prior to the start of the program. Use the Special Events entrance on Constitution Avenue.

Current Exhibitions

Tuesday, April 1, at 11 a.m.
Room G-25, Research Center (Penn. Ave. Entrance)
National Archives Records in FamilySearch

Carol Kostakos Petranek, a FamilySearch associate, explores National Archives records and other resources available free and online at FamilySearch.org.

Thursday, April 3, at 11 a.m.
Repeated at the National Archives at College Park, MD, Lecture Room C

Wednesday, April 2, at 11 a.m.
Room G-25, Research Center (Penn. Ave. Entrance)
Introduction to Genealogy at the National Archives

Learn how to do basic genealogical research using Federal records at the National Archives. Lectures take place on the first Wednesday of each month.

Friday, April 4, at noon
William G. McGowan Theater
Appomattox: Victory, Defeat, and Freedom at the End of the Civil War

Lee's surrender to Grant at Appomattox Court House evokes a popular image of a moment of patriotism untainted by ideology. But Elizabeth Varon reveals that this rosy image conceals a seething debate over what the surrender meant and what kind of nation would emerge from war. Lee and Grant held opposite views of the direction of the country–and of the meaning of the war that had changed the country forever. A book signing will follow the program.

 

 

 

Monday, April 7, at noon
William G. McGowan Theater
The Fight for the Four Freedoms: What Made FDR and the Greatest Generation Truly Great

These were the democratic aims–freedom from want and fear, freedom of speech and religion–that helped beat the Great Depression, defeat the Axis Powers in World War II, and turn the United States into the strongest and richest nation in history. They remain the most significant legacy of America’s most progressive generation. Professor Harvey Kaye recalls the full story of this generation’s extraordinary stuggles and accomplishments. A book signing will follow the program.

Wednesday, April 9, at 9:30 a.m.
Room G-25, Research Center (Penn. Ave. Entrance)
Genealogy Lecture: National Archives Online Resources

Archives specialist Nancy Wing shows you how to navigate Archives.gov for your genealogy research in this lecture.

Copyright Masaaki Miyazawa

Friday, April 11, at 7 p.m.
William G. McGowan Theater
Umi Yama Ahida: In Between Mountains and Oceans

Masaaki Miyazawa’s new film uses breathtaking imagery to explain Japanese methods of environmental sustainability and protection of forests. The screening will be followed by a live performance by the AUN-J-Classic Orchestra, who provided music for the film. Presented in partnership with the 2014 National Cherry Blossom Festival.

 

Tuesday, April 15, at noon
William G. McGowan Theater
The Crusade Years, 1933–1955: Herbert Hoover’s Lost Memoir of the New Deal Era and its Aftermath

President Herbert Hoover composed and revised a previously unknown memoir during the 1940s and 1950s, and then set it aside. Editor George Nash discusses The Crusade Years, in which Hoover recounts his family life after March 1933, his myriad philanthropic interests, his political crusades, and his vision of the nation that gave him the opportunity for service. A book signing will follow the program.

Tuesday, April 15, at 10-noon and 2-4 p.m.
Constitution-in-Action Learning Lab Family Program
Boeing Learning Center

Families are invited to take on the role of researchers and archivists for a day. During a two–hour simulation, they will help the President and Bob, his Communications Director, prepare for a special press conference. Families will work together to locate and analyze facsimile documents and find the connection each document has to the Constitution.

This is a great way to explore American history, learn more about the National Archives, and gain a greater understanding of the role the Constitution plays in our daily lives.

Reservations are required and must be made at least 24 hours in advance. To reserve your spot send an e-mail to learninglab@nara.gov and include:

  • Date and time you would like to attend
  • Names of the parent(s) or adult(s)
  • Names of the child(ren) names and their grade in school
  • E-mail
  • Phone
  • Cell number you can be reached at on the day of the program
  • Mailing address

Todd Purdum. Photo by Gasper Tringale

Tuesday, April 15, at 7 p.m.
William G. McGowan Theater
An Idea Whose Time Has Come: Two Presidents, Two Parties, and the Battle for the Civil Rights Act of 1964

Journalists Todd Purdum and Cokie Roberts discuss the political battles behind the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the popular myths about this monumental piece of legislation as well as the patient organization, unending advocacy, and across–the–aisle teamwork that created  H.R. 7152.Purdum recreates the cast of characters–many now forgotten–who were the catalysts for change. A book signing will follow the program.

Wednesday, April 16, at 11 a.m.
Room G-25, Research Center (Penn. Ave. Entrance)
“Beyond the Basics” Genealogy: Nonpopulation Census Records

Increase your archival research skills at the National Archives with a genealogy lecture by archives specialist Katherine Vollen on nonpopulation census records (all skill levels welcome).

Thursday, April 17, at 11 a.m.
National Archives at College Park, MD, Lecture Room C

Caribbean Immigrants: Using Federal Records to Locate Immigrant Ancestors from the West Indies, 1890–1930
Using Federal records from 1890–1930, archivist Damani Davis discusses how to locate immigrant ancestors from the West Indies.

Thursday, April 17, at 12:30 p.m.
Room G-25, Research Center (Penn. Ave. Entrance)
The La Follette Committee's Duel with the Dies Committee, 1938-1944

Historian Dolores Janiewski from the Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand discusses research for her book project, “Reds, Hunters and Hearst.”

Jerome Paige

Thursday, April 17, at 7 p.m.
William G. McGowan Theater
Emancipation and Home Rule: A Dual Struggle for Equality

On the 40th anniversary of Home Rule and the 152nd anniversary of the District of Columbia Compensated Emancipation Act, a panel discusses the symbiotic relationship between the struggle for emancipation and the struggle for home rule, congressional representation, and statehood. John Franklin of the National Museum of African American History and Culture moderates panelists Virginia Howard, professor of education at the University of the District of Columbia; Jerome Paige, economist; Miles Mark Fisher, former President of University of the District of Columbia; Sharon Pratt, former Mayor of the District of Columbia; and Tom Davis, former Congressman. Presented in partnership with the DC City Government and the NMAAHC.

Friday, April 18, at noon
William G. McGowan Theater
Harlem’s Rattlers and the Great War: The Undaunted 369th Regiment and the African American Quest for Equality

The Harlem Rattlers held near–mythic status. The African American combat unit that grew out of the 15th New York National Guard were said to never have lost either a man to capture nor a foot of ground that had been taken. Author Jeffrey Sammons discusses the history of this extraordinary unit and its place in the larger fight for full citizenship in the United States for African Americans. A book signing will follow the program.

Wednesday, April 23, at 9:30 a.m.
Room G-25, Research Center (Penn. Ave. Entrance)
Genealogy Lecture: National Archives Online Resources

Archives specialist Nancy Wing shows you how to navigate Archives.gov for your genealogy research in this lecture. No registration required.

Wednesday, April 23, at noon
William G. McGowan Theater
The Most Dangerous Man in America: The Making of Douglas MacArthur

Gerneral Douglas MacArthur–imperious, headstrong, and vain–is also remembered as a brilliant commander. Mark Perry examines how this paradoxical man overcame his personal and professional challenges to lead his countrymen in World War II. A book signing will follow the program

 

 

 

 

Records of the United States Information Agency (RG 306.PS.397.59.20856)

Thursday, April 24, at 7 p.m.
William G. McGowan Theater
Jazz Diplomacy: Sending America’s Music to the World

Beginning in the 1950s, the U.S. Government used jazz as a diplomatic tool during the Cold War. John Edward Hasse—author, curator, biographer of Duke Ellington and founder of the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra—leads a discussion focusing on efforts by the United States Information Agency, the Voice of America, and the U.S. Department of State. Panelists include Former Ambassador David T. Killion, who organized International Jazz Day for UNESCO; David Ensor, current Director of the Voice of America; and historian Penny Von Eschen, author of Satchmo Blows Up the World: Jazz Ambassadors Play the Cold War.

This is the first in a series of programs, Jazz at the National Archives, made possible in part by the Foundation for the National Archives through the generous support of Natixis Global Asset Management.

 

Photo by Art Kane, 1958. Courtesy of Jean Bach, Inc.

Friday, April 25, at noon
William G. McGowan Theater
A Great Day in Harlem

This 1994 documentary highlights a remarkable moment in the history of American music when dozens of America's jazz legends unexpectedly gathered together for a photograph that would become emblematic of the golden age of jazz. (60 minutes.) Jazz at the National Archives, made possible in part by the Foundation for the National Archives through the generous support of Natixis Global Asset Management.

Jazz at the National Archives is made possible in part by the Foundation for the National Archives through the generous support of Natixis Global Asset Management.

Saturday, April 26, at 10 a.m.
Room G-25, Research Center (Penn. Ave. Entrance)
“Beyond the Basics” Genealogy: Immigration Records

Increase your archival research skills at the National Archives with a genealogy lecture by archivist Claire Kluskens on immigration records (all skill levels welcome).

Saturday, April 26, noon-4 p.m.
Room G-25, Research Center (Penn. Ave. Entrance)
“Help! I’m Stuck” Genealogy Consultation

Not sure where to begin? Has a genealogical problem stumped you? An archivist is available from noon to 4 p.m. to answer your questions. Sign up for a 20-minute appointment at the Microfilm Research desk on Saturday.

Boeing Learning Center

An exciting space designed to provide parents and educators of all levels with methods and materials for teaching with primary source documents. Open Monday–Saturday, 10 a.m.–4 p.m.

Learn more about Education programs at the National Archives.

The ReSource Room is open Monday–Saturday, 10 a.m.–4 p.m.

Exhibitions

Exhibit Opening: “Making Their Mark: Stories Through Signatures”
“Making Their Mark: Stories through Signatures” displays both famous and little-known signatures found in the holdings of the National Archives. Discover the invention Michael Jackson patented; see “signature” items worn by Jacqueline Kennedy, Dwight Eisenhower, and First Lady Michelle Obama; and discover what prompted Katharine Hepburn, Johnny Cash, and Jackie Robinson to write to the government. “Making Their Mark” explores the stores behind the signatures that made their mark on the American narrative. Lawrence F. O'Brien Gallery

"Records of Rights"
“Records of Rights” uses original documents, photographs, facsimiles, videos, and interactive exhibits to explore how Americans have worked to realize their nation’s ideals of freedom and and how they have debated issues such as citizenship, free speech, voting rights, and equal opportunity. Exploring many stories—and showcasing the drive for civil rights for African Americans, women, and immigrants—the new exhibition chronicles the past and current generations whose efforts to secure equality under the law have shaped the country we live in today. David M. Rubenstein Gallery

1297 Magna Carta
Magna Carta, on permanent loan from David M. Rubenstein, is on view as a feature of the “Records of Rights” exhibit. Magna Carta inspired the nation’s founders, and serves as an important chapter in the evolution of rights in the United States. David M. Rubenstein Gallery

Orientation Plaza
This beautiful space features a short video introduction to the National Archives and its activities, a video orientation wall highlighting the eight prime visitor destinations within the National Archives Museum, and touch-screen mapping stations. Ground Level

Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom

  • Declaration of Independence
  • Constitution
  • Bill of Rights

Permanent Exhibitions

The Charters of Freedom: Our Nation’s Founding Documents” takes a fresh look at the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. Using historical documents from the holdings of the National Archives, we answer two key questions about the Charters: “How did they happen?” and “Why are they important?” This Rotunda exhibit also touches on the roles played by women and slaves in the Revolutionary War. Don’t miss the remarkable story of Elizabeth Burgin’s heroic role in a successful plot to free soldiers from British prison ships.

The Public Vaults” invites visitors into virtual stack areas to discover historic documents, films, maps, and photographs from the National Archives. In interactive displays, visitors may hear Presidents discuss some of the country’s greatest challenges, step into the boots of soldiers on the front lines, or follow an investigation of the sinking of the Titanic. Upper Level

A rare print on parchment of the Declaration of Independence—made from the original copperplate engraved by William J. Stone in 1823—is on display for a limited time. Courtesy of David M. Rubenstein.

This year’s featured adventurer in “Polar Exploration” is explorer Robert E. Peary, who made two unsuccessful attempts before finally claiming to reach the Pole in 1909.


Featured Documents on Display in Washington, DC

Featured Document Display: Senate Journal: Electoral Tally for President
This year marks the 225th anniversary of the First Congress. The first Senate Journal is on display showing one of the first actions taken by the First Congress: counting the electoral votes for President and Vice President. George Washington was elected President and John Adams, who finished second in the balloting, was elected Vice President.East Rotunda Gallery through April 16

Featured Document Display: The Smith-Lever Act
The Smith-Lever Act is on display in commemoration of its 100th anniversary on May 8. The act established a national Cooperative Extension Service which extended outreach programs through land-grant universities to educate rural Americans about advances in agricultural practices and technology. Cooperative extension increased agricultural productivity in the United States throughout the 20th century. East Rotunda Gallery, April 17 through May 8


Special Exhibition in College Park, Maryland

Auditorium Lobby at the National Archives Research Center:

"The Long View" features digitally produced facsimiles of historic panoramic photographs from the Still Picture holdings.

Motorcycle Corps, Army Motor Service - Under Command of J. S. Berryman. US Capitol. Wash., DC. Jan. 26, 1919, By R. S. Clements. Records of the War Department General and Special Staffs (165-PP-60-47)

The exhibit not only showcases the wide variety of panoramic techniques, but also includes National Archives records such as cartographic maps and patent drawings that relate to the photographs. Thirty-four panoramas and other records are on display and span the period from 1864 to 1997.
See more panoramas online


Online Exhibits

Dozens of exhibits can be experienced online. Visit Now!

To the Brink: JFK and the Cuban Missile Crisis
An exhibit marking the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis..

What's Cooking Uncle Sam? logo “What’s Cooking, Uncle Sam?”
Unearth the stories and personalities behind the increasingly complex programs and legislation that affect what we eat. Learn about the Government’s extraordinary efforts, successes, and failures to change our eating habits. Find out why the Government wanted us to “Eat the Carp,” “Share the Meat,” and “Know Our Onions.” There are over 100 original records in the exhibit—including folk songs, war posters, educational films, and even seed packets. From Revolutionary War rations to Cold War cultural exchanges, discover the multiple ways that food has occupied the hearts and minds of Americans and their Government.
Online exhibit

Discovering the Civil War ExhibitDiscovering the Civil War
Unlock secrets, solve mysteries, and uncover unexpected events in this most extensive display ever assembled from the incomparable Civil War holdings of the National Archives.
Online exhibit

child with coal dust on face Eyewitness:  American Originals from the National Archives
Drawing on rarely displayed documents, audio recordings, and film footage culled from the extensive holdings of the National Archives and its Presidential libraries, "Eyewitness" features first-person accounts of watershed moments in history. Online exhibit


Locations, Hours, and Contact Information

The National Archives Experience
Constitution Avenue between 7th and 9th Streets, NW, Washington, DC

For details, see the Visitor's Map or visit the National Archives Experience.

Exhibit Hours:

  • 10 a.m.–5:30 p.m.
  • Last admission is at 5 p.m.
  • Open every day except Thanksgiving and December 25.

Admission free.

All events listed in the calendar are free unless noted; reservations are not required unless noted. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. For McGowan Theater programs, the doors to the building will open 30 minutes prior to the start of the program. Use the Special Events entrance on Constitution Avenue.

For details, see the Visitor's Map or visit the National Archives Experience.

For reservations or to be placed on the mailing list, call 202-357-5000, or toll free at 1-877-874-7616, or e-mail public.program@nara.gov.

Museum Visit Reservations: To make reservations to visit the museum, especially during the height of the tourist season and holiday periods use online reservations. As of March 15, 2013, the last reservation slot is 4:30 p.m. If you have a reservation for later than 4:30 p.m., you will have to reschedule the visit.


The National Archives Research Center
700 Penn. Ave., NW, Washington, DC and 8601 Adelphi Road, College Park, MD.

Research Hours for both locations:

Check the Washington, DC and College Park, MD location information for records pull times and other important details.

Call 202-357-5450 for a docent-led guided tour.

wheelchair icon TDD: 301-837-0482. The National Archives is fully accessible. To request an accommodation (such as a sign language interpreter) for a public program, please call 202-357-5000, or toll free at 1-877-874-7616, or email public.program@nara.gov at least two weeks prior to the event.


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