Washington, DC Area Events

February 2015
Washington, DC, Area Events

Photo by Jeffery Reed

You can now watch our programs live on YouTube. Unlike Ustream, YouTube does not have one landing page to view our events. Each event will have its own link, which is included at the end of the descriptions on this page.

You will be able to watch our archived programs on Ustream for a limited time while the landing page is still active. www.ustream.tv/usnationalarchives

Live captioning will be available online and in the William G. McGowan Theater. If you require an alternative or additional accommodation for an event (such as a downloadable transcript or a sign language interpreter), please send an email to public.program@nara.gov or call 202-357-5000 in advance.

Program Highlights

  • Activities in the Boeing Learning Center
    Celebrate Presidents Day with hands-on activities (February 2–28) and learn about Presidents at our storytime for preschoolers (February 18).
  • Special screening of Unbroken
    The film Unbroken follows the incredible life of Olympian and World War II hero Louis "Louie" Zamperini. (February 10).
  • 11th Annual Showcase of Academy Award-Nominated Documentaries and Short Subjects
    The National Archives hosts the 11th annual free screenings of the Academy Award® nominees in four categories—Documentary Feature, Documentary Short Subject, Live Action Short Film, and Animated Short Film (February 18–22).
  • Gateway to Freedom
    A panel explores the dramatic stories of fugitive slaves and the antislavery activists who defied the law to help them reach freedom (February 3).
  • Forum on the Rosenberg Case
    Journalist Marvin Kalb moderates a discussion on the espionage case of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg (February 5).
  • Jazz at the National Archives with the Airmen of Note
    The Airmen of Note, the premier jazz ensemble of the United States Air Force, perform at the National Archives (February 12).
  • Nixon Legacy Forum: Detente & Arms Control with the USSR
    Former members of Nixon's National Security Council staff discuss diplomacy with the USSR, détente, and arms control. (February 23).
  • Noontime Lectures
    Hear the authors of Redemption Songs: Suing for Freedom before Dred Scott (February 13), 88 Days to Kandahar: A CIA Diary (February 17), Madison's Gift: Five Partnerships that Built America (February 25), and A Chosen Exile: A History of Racial Passing in American Life (February 27).
  • Know Your Records
    Get started with the Introduction to Genealogy workshop (February 4), learn about the documents related to the 1965 Voting rights Act and the Selma to Montgomery March (February 12), bring your tough questions to a genealogy specialist (February 21), and learn about African American documents held in our vault (February 24).
  • Researcher Talk
    A former CIA officer discusses his research on spy Duncan Lee (February 12)

Locations, Hours, and Contact Information

All events listed in the calendar are free unless noted. Reservations for McGowan Theater programs are not required but are recommended. Use the new online event registration system from the National Archives Foundation to reserve your seats:
1. Register at www.archivesfoundation.org/events/
2. Print your email confirmation and bring it with you.
3. To reserve by phone, call 202-357-6814. Walk-ins without reservations will be admitted, depending on available seats.

For McGowan Theater programs, use the Special Events Entrance on Constitution Avenue. The doors to the building will open 45 minutes prior to the start of the program.

Current Exhibitions

Lost and Found

  • National Archives at Washington, DC: 202-357-5023
  • National Archives at College Park: 301-837-2900

Monday-Saturday, February 2-28, 10 am-4 pm
Boeing Learning Center
Featured Activities in ReSource Room

Celebrate Presidents Day and delve into the history of the Emancipation Proclamation through hands-on activities.

Tuesday, February 3, at 7 p.m.
William G. McGowan Theater & YouTube
Gateway to Freedom: The Hidden History of the Underground Railroad

Eric Foner builds on fresh evidence, including a secret, detailed record of slave escapes, to tell the dramatic story of fugitive slaves and the antislavery activists who defied the law to help them reach freedom. Ed Ayers, President of the University of Richmond, moderates a panel including Eric Foner, professor of history at Columbia University and author of Gateway to Freedom; Edna Greene Medford, professor of history at Howard University; and Adam Rothman, associate professor of history at Georgetown University. A book signing will follow the program.

Wednesday, February 4, 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.

Julius and Ethel Rosenberg are separated by a heavy wire screen after being found guilty. Photo by Roger Higgins, photographer from “New York World-Telegram and the Sun” Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division. New York World-Telegram and the Sun Newspaper Photograph Collection.

Thursday, February 5, at 7 pm
William G. McGowan Theater & YouTube
Forum on the Rosenberg Case

Journalist Marvin Kalb moderates a discussion on the espionage case of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. The panel will examine how the Soviet spy network that Julius Rosenberg set up worked and how it helped the Soviets. Panelists include Ronald Radosh, co-author of The Rosenberg File; Mark Kramer, director of Cold War Studies, Harvard University, and Senior Fellow of Harvard's Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies; Harvey Klehr and John Earl Haynes, co-authors of Spies: The Rise and Fall of the KGB in America; Steven Usdin, author of Engineering Communism: How Two Americans Spied for Stalin and Founded the Soviet Silicon Valley; and Allen Hornblum, author of The Invisible Harry Gold: The Man Who Gave the Soviets the Atom Bomb.

Tuesday, February 10, at 7 p.m.
William G. McGowan Theater
Special screening of Unbroken

Based on the book by Laura Hillenbrand, Unbroken (2014, 137 minutes) follows the incredible life of Olympian and war hero Louis "Louie" Zamperini (Jack O'Connell) who survived in a raft for 47 days after a near-fatal plane crash in World War II—only to be caught by the Japanese navy and sent to a prisoner-of-war camp. Presented in partnership with NBC Universal and in conjunction with the Unbroken Featured Document display, February 5 through March 4, 2015.

Thursday, February 12, at 2 p.m.
William G. McGowan Theater & YouTube
50th Anniversaries of Voting Rights

In recognition of the 50th anniversaries of the Selma to Montgomery March and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, archivist Tina Ligon presents records documenting these pivotal events in American history. Handouts are available online.

Thursday, February 12, at noon
Room G-25, Research Center (Penn. Ave. Entrance)
Researcher Talk:  A Very Principled Boy:  The Life of Duncan Lee, Red Spy and Cold Warrior

Mark Bradley, former CIA officer and lawyer in the Justice Department's National Security Division, explains how he used Soviet cables, notebooks of a former KGB officer, and the records of the House Un-American Activities Committee to tell the story of Duncan Lee, perhaps the best-placed mole to ever infiltrate American intelligence operations. A book signing will follow the talk.

The Airmen of Note, the premier jazz ensemble of the United States Air Force

Thursday, February 12, at 7 p.m.
William G. McGowan Theater
Jazz at the National Archives with the Airmen of Note

The Airmen of Note is the premier jazz ensemble of the United States Air Force. Created in 1950 to continue the tradition of Major Glenn Miller's Army Air Corps dance band, the band consists of active duty Airmen musicians. Their commitment to musical excellence has earned the respect of the foremost jazz artists from around the globe. Presented in partnership with the United States Air Force Band.

 

 

Friday, February 13, at noon
William G. McGowan Theater & YouTube
Redemption Songs: Suing for Freedom before Dred Scott

The Dred Scott case is the most well-known example of a slave suing for freedom but it was just one of many freedom suits in the antebellum period. Legal scholar Lea VanderVelde discusses twelve of never-before analyzed cases. A book signing follows the program.

 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday, February 17, at noon
William G. McGowan Theater & YouTube
88 Days to Kandahar: A CIA Diary

Robert Grenier was the CIA Station Chief in Islamabad where he launched the “southern campaign,” orchestrating the final defeat of the Taliban and Hamid Karzai’s rise to power in eighty-eight chaotic days. A book signing will follow the program.

Wednesday, February 18, 10 a.m.-11 a.m.
Boeing Learning Center
Story Time in the ReSource Room for Preschoolers and Adults

Join us for story time designed for three- to five-year-olds and accompanying adults. Children will practice their listening skills, participate in group activities, and create a craft. The theme for February is Presidents.

This program is made possible in part by the National Archives Foundation through the support of the William Randolph Hearst Foundation.

Wednesday–Sunday, February 18–22
William G. McGowan Theater
11th Annual Showcase of Academy Award–nominated Documentaries and Short Subjects

The National Archives hosts the 11th annual free screenings of the Academy Award® nominees in four categories—Documentary Feature, Documentary Short Subject, Live Action Short Film, and Animated Short Film.

The screenings are presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in partnership with the Charles Guggenheim Center for the Documentary Film and the National Archives Foundation.

New this year! Make reservations for the screenings and avoid the line. Register online or call 202-357-6814. Theater doors will open 45 minutes prior to start time. Walk-ins without reservations will be admitted 15 minutes prior to start time, depending on available seats. Please note that some films may not be appropriate for general audiences.

Screening schedule (subject to availability)

Documentary Feature Nominees

Wednesday, February 18, 7 p.m.
The Last Days in Vietnam
Rory Kennedy and Keven McAlester
(98 minutes; unrated)

Thursday, February 19, 7 p.m.
CitizenFour
Laura Poitras, Mathilde Bonnefoy and Dirk Wilutzky
(114 minutes; rated R)

Friday, February 20, 7 p.m.
The Salt of the Earth
Wim Wenders, Juliano Ribeiro Salgado and David Rosier
(110 minutes; rated PG-13)

Saturday, February 21, 7 p.m.
Virunga
Orlando von Einsiedel and Joanna Natasegara
(90 minutes; unrated)

Sunday, February 22, 4 p.m.
Finding Vivian Maier
John Maloof and Charlie Siskel
(83 minutes; unrated)

Live Action Short Film Nominees

Saturday, February 21, noon
Aya
Oded Binnun and Mihal Brezis
(40 minutes; unrated)

Boogaloo and Graham
Michael Lennox and Ronan Blaney
(14 minutes; unrated)

Butter Lamp (La Lampe au Beurre de Yak)
Hu Wei and Julien Féret
(15 minutes; unrated)

Parvaneh
Talkhon Hamzavi and Stefan Eichenberger
(25 minutes; unrated)

The Phone Call
Mat Kirkby and James Lucas
(20 minutes; unrated)

Total Running time: 114 minutes.

Animated Short Film Nominees

Saturday, February 21, 3:30 p.m.
The Bigger Picture
Daisy Jacobs and Christopher Hees
(8 minutes; unrated)

The Dam Keeper
Robert Kondo and Dice Tsutsumi
(18 minutes; unrated)

Feast
Patrick Osborne and Kristina Reed
(6 minutes; unrated)

Me and My Moulton
Torill Kove
(14 minutes; unrated)

A Single Life
Joris Oprins
(3 minutes; unrated)

Total Running Time: 49 minutes.

Documentary Short Subject Nominees

Sunday, February 22, 11 a.m.
Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1
Ellen Goosenberg Kent and Dana Perry
(47 minutes; unrated)

Joanna
Aneta Kopacz
(45 minutes; unrated)

Our Curse
Tomasz Śliwiński and Maciej Ślesicki
(28 minutes; unrated)

The Reaper (La Parka)
Gabriel Serra Arguello
(29 minutes; unrated)

White Earth
J. Christian Jensen
(20 minutes; unrated)

Total Running Time: 169 minutes

Saturday, February 21, at 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.

Monday, February 23, at 10 a.m.
William G. McGowan Theater
Nixon Legacy Forum: Detente & Arms Control with the USSR

In May 1972, President Richard Nixon signed the historic Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty with USSR President Leonid Brezhnev. This trip to Moscow followed Nixon's February 1972 trip to China and set the stage for the January 1973 Paris Peace Accords, which ended the Vietnam War. FOXNews National Security Analyst KT McFarland will lead a discussion with former members of Nixon's National Security Council staff—Phil Odeen, Jan Lodal, David Aaron, and Winston Lord—about their behind-the-scenes efforts and how Nixon's diplomacy with the USSR included détente and arms control. Presented in partnership with the Richard Nixon Foundation.

Tuesday, February 24, at 2 p.m.
William G. McGowan Theater & YouTube
Protecting America’s Treasures: Black History in the Vault

Archives specialist Netisha Currie describes records relating to African-American history held in our vault as well as unrestricted records available from our stacks. Handouts are available online.

Wednesday, February 25, at noon
William G. McGowan Theater & YouTube
Madison’s Gift: Five Partnerships that Built America

Historian David O. Stewart restores James Madison to his proper place as the most significant framer of the new nation. Neither soldier nor orator, low on charisma and high on intelligence, Madison cared more about achieving results than taking the credit. He blended his talents with those of key partners, led the drive for the Constitutional Convention, and pressed for an effective new government. A book signing follows the program.

 

 

 

 

Friday, February 27, at noon
William G. McGowan Theater & YouTube
A Chosen Exile: A History of Racial Passing in American Life

Between the eighteenth and mid-twentieth centuries, countless African Americans passed as white, leaving behind families and friends, roots and community. Historian Allyson Hobbs explores the possibilities and challenges that racial indeterminacy presented to men and women living in a country obsessed with racial distinctions. A book signing follows the program.

 

 

 

 

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

Coming March 6! “Spirited Republic: Alcohol in American History.” Learn about Presidential toasting, the lady hootch hunter, the drunkometer, the campaign against the spirit ration, and more!

Records of Rights
“Records of Rights” explores how Americans have worked to realize their nation’s ideals of freedom. The exhibit features the 1297 Magna Carta, on permanent loan from David M. Rubenstein. The 1882 American Accession to the 1864 Geneva Convention, which attempted to establish rules for warfare and created the famous emblem of the International Red Cross, will be on display in the Landmark Document case through March 15, 2015. David M. Rubenstein Gallery

1297 Magna Carta
The 1297 Magna Carta, on permanent loan from David M. Rubenstein, is featured in the “Records of Rights” exhibit. David M. Rubenstein Gallery

Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom

  • Declaration of Independence
  • Constitution
  • Bill of Rights

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?" Rotunda

The Public Vaults” invites visitors into virtual stack areas to discover historic documents, films, maps, and photographs from the National Archives. 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

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: George Washington's First Annual Message
In celebration of the 225th anniversary of the First Congress, the first Journal of the House of Representatives is on display, showing the final page of George Washington's State of the Union speech. With this speech, Washington established the precedent of delivering a formal address to Congress to report on the state of the Union. East Rotunda Gallery, through February 4

Featured Document Display: Records from Louis Zamperini's Incredible World War II Story
Olympian Louis “Louie” Zamperini's wartime service records are on display. The Army Air Force bombardier survived when his B-24 airplane crashed in the Pacific Ocean, only to face months adrift at sea and years as a Japanese POW. Against all odds, Zamperini survived and was liberated at the end of the war. East Rotunda Gallery, February 5-March 4


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!

Records of Rights
Explore records of the National Archives documenting the ongoing struggle of Americans to define, attain, and protect their rights.

Discovery and Recovery: Preserving Iraqi Jewish Heritage
Startling evidence of the once vibrant Jewish life in Iraq came to light in May 2003—over 2,700 books and tens of thousands of documents were discovered in the flooded basement of the Iraqi intelligence headquarters by a U.S. Army team.

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


Locations, Hours, and Contact Information

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

For details, see the Visitor's Guide or visit the National Archives Museum.

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 for McGowan Theater programs are not required but are recommended. Use the new online event registration system from the National Archives Foundation to reserve your seats:
1. Register at www.archivesfoundation.org/events/
2. Print your email confirmation and bring it with you.
3.To reserve by phone, call 202-357-6814. Walk-ins without reservations will be admitted, depending on available seats.

For McGowan Theater programs, use the Special Events Entrance on Constitution Avenue. The doors to the building will open 45 minutes prior to the start of the program.

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.


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

Research Hours for both locations:

  • Monday - Saturday, 9 a.m.–5 p.m.
  • Closed on Federal holidays. Please note that all National Archives research rooms will be closed on Monday, February 16, for President's Day.

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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